[REC]

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 in the US.

Reviewed by: Nick
5 Comment(s)
Shea said...
This sounds awesome. Definitely insterested in checking this out. Maybe I will ask my bud * to see if he can find a copy and send it to me. He sent me Cronos which you can only get in European formats.

I love this style of filmmaking and I am bummed it is being overused. I pretty much hated Diary of the Dead and am looking for some handheld zombie redemption.

Nick said...
It really was pretty cool. I just wish I had a copy with better quality (I downloaded all 8 files from YouTube, then converted them from FLV files to MPEG because I wanted to try and merge all the copies into one main file... which didn't work out... so instead, I ended up having to watch 8 different clips of slightly fuzzy quality... though that might have added to the realistic feel slightly).

I still haven't seen Diary of the Dead, which surprises me, but I'll eventually get around to it, even if it sucks.

So yeah, definitely check it out. I think you'd enjoy it. Though, I'm calling dibs on the Quarantine review for when that movie comes out later this year. :P
Nick said...
whoa! I just found out that my main man Doug Jones is gonna have a cameo appearance at the end of Quarantine, so I'm there even more now (and if it's anything like [Rec], which it's looking to be, I know exactly who he's playing. That outta be good).
* (asterisk) said...
This one's been quite late coming out over here, in fact, but I am intrigued and will see it asap.
I saw the preview for Quarantine a few days ago... I think it was in the Hellboy II previews... It actually looked pretty good. And that's coming from a guy who's not a big fan of zombie movies.