So when I heard of a new movie coming out called Quarantine, I watched the trailer, was highly intrigued, and decided to look into it further. When I did, I found out it's a remake of a Spanish film that was made only last year called [REC] (short for Record or Recording, in this instance), and all reviews I read stated how terrifying it was. I was more intrigued. And then I saw it was a zombie movie. I tracked it down as quickly as possible... which was very difficult, as it isn't available for Region 1 DVD. Fortunately, albeit not in the most ethical approach, I found a copy uploaded on YouTube of all places. I'll just leave it at that.
[REC] is about a young television reporter, Angela (Manuela Velasco), and her cameraman Pablo (never fully shown, but voiced by Pep Sais), who are filming a night in the life of the local fire station. She teams up with two of the firemen, Alex (David Vert) and Manu (Ferran Terraza), and discovers how firehouse life is actually quite boring on average. But when they get a middle-of-the-night call to an apartment complex about an elderly woman giving blood-curdling screams, Angela, Pablo, and their firemen acquaintances make their way to the building. However, upon reaching the place, they discover something else much darker than they were expecting is happening. The elderly woman bites a policeman and one of the firemen, and the entire complex suddenly find themselves in the middle of a government quarantine with no explanation as to what is going on or why. But all they know is that there are two dying men who need to get to a hospital and a very sick little girl who apparently has tonsillitis. And everything slowly becomes more and more chaotic from there.
I have to say, this movie was intense. It started off kind of slow, but once they reached the apartment complex, the pace picked up considerably before dropping off for a little bit, and then hitting hard again non-stop to the end. My adrenaline was constantly pumping, my heart going fast, and I even jumped a few times. However, one of the movie's major downfalls is that it focuses primarily on the intensity and not the characters. The only characters I really had any kind of feeling for were Angela and Pablo. There are a few introductions to characters during the middle slow part of the movie, but not enough to really get a good feel for them. You know they're just there to raise the body count. The movie would have been much better had they extended the incredibly short length of the movie (it clocks in, without credits, at less than 80 minutes) in order to focus more on character development.
If you haven't figured it out yet, this movie is shot in a similar fashion to The Blair Witch Project, Cloverfield, and Diary of the Dead (except it was out before the latter two). But as I said, it didn't have the same character focus that, say, Cloverfield had. I didn't care about Pablo in the same fashion that I cared about Hud. But enough about the characters.
The visuals of the movie are really good. There are some cool shots and angles, and quite a few less-is-more approach shots, in which you only see quick glimpses before the camera pans away, or you only hear noises. There are some great uses of the camera, as well, such as the night vision and the camera light (much like in the subway scene of Cloverfield). Though there was a rewind/fast-forward sequence that didn't make sense, because as far as I'm aware (though I could be wrong), you can't record yourself rewinding and fast-forwarding.
As for the zombies, they look really creepy from what you see of them (like I said, quick glimpses). Though they're almost more like The Infected from the 28 _____ Later films, except I would moreso argue that these are actually zombies, unlike the ones in those films. The origin of the zombies is somewhat attempted to be explained, but isn't fully done so, which I think is nice. Movies that try to explain their monsters sometimes end up hokier than they would have been otherwise. Instead, it leaves it more up to speculation.
The acting is done really well, mostly from the lead
actress, Manuela Velasco. I really didn't notice many (if any) parts that
really brought me out of the movie due to poor acting. The ending somewhat
confused me, though I think I understood it for the most part. And it's also a
rather abrupt ending, much like Blair
Witch and Cloverfield. I'm not
too sure what else to say. From the Quarantine
trailer, it looks almost identical to [REC],
except in English. Even down to the position of the camera and the reaction of
the character to certain things. Hopefully, though, this could be one of those
rare instances where the remake actually builds on and makes better the
original version. If the American version is longer than 80 minutes, I'll start
getting really excited. But until then, I'll just anticipate both that version,
and for whenever [REC] comes to DVD