Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Horror REC versus Quarantine and its Sequels

I have a love hate relationship with remakes but Quarantine (2008) a year after  [REC] original release, as Oliver Reed said in Gladiator, "Pah!" This may get repetitive, and just proves my point...

A Spanish female TV reporter, Ángela Vidal (Manuela Velasco) and her cameraman Manu (Ferran Terraza) cover the night-shift at the local fire-station but thing goes awry when they go on a call to a building that becomes quarantined.

Taking style of The Blair Witch Project (1999) to a more fitting effective and aesthetics level and inspiring big budgeter Cloverfield (2008), Rec is creatively directed/written by Jaume Balagueró and Luis Berdejo.

The film is seen purely from the point of view of the cameras and at times the shock factor is high. The film is packed with excellent practical effects, great sound and first rate makeup. This with the on location setting and lighting create and eerie atmosphere.

[Rec]The acting is superb (and the unnecessary remake Quarantine (2008) is pale in comparison) as Manuela leads a cast of authentic looking firemen into a building as the infection spreads making it's victims zombie-like. The supporting cast of occupants are equally as good, the acting is superb especially in the smaller quieter segments as they are interviewed by Ángela's character and when they find out they are trapped in the building.

The action, suspense and fear builds up to a crescendo as the truth of the outbreak is revealed. With some jump scares and a surprise ending it's a perfect horror ride.

QuarantineA television reporter and her cameraman are on call with a group of fireman. When they are called to an apartment building their night takes a turn for the worse… The building becomes quarantined confining them with the inhabitants who are infected by a virus that turns them into bloodthirsty killers.

If you've seen Rec (2007) this version adds nothing new. Director John Erick Dowdle and writer Drew Dowdle can't fail as it's almost a paint by number remake, only with English dialogue instead of the dubbed or subtitles of the original.
Quarantine (+ BD Live) [Blu-ray]
While Hostel's Jay Hernandez give a great performance, the majority of the rest of the cast are less convincing. Quarantine it's a lot sleeker in it's execution and looks really good. That said, the griminess of REC has been lost and this version sadly loses the raw innate fear factor.

As a standalone point of view shot film it's entertaining enough. Blood, gore, tension and claustrophobia but if you've seen the original it's an unnecessary remake and cash-in on Rec (2007) made less than a year earlier.

Continuing right where Rec (2007) left off, a SWAT team outfitted with video cameras are sent into a virus infected quarantined apartment to assist in retrieving some blood samples.

The same writer/directors Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza are back on board with an extra writer Manu Díez in the sequel to the excellent Spanish horror flick. It's more of the same, dark corridors, frantic Point of View camera work, blood gore and mayhem.

Rec 2 wastes no time of getting back into the building where the out-break started. It is an entertaining horror piece as the SWAT team are picked off one by one, but it lacks the character development of the first and feels more of a ride than gripping. That said, the acting is first rate, Jonathan Mellor's Dr. Owen is notable and Manuela Velasco returns.

Rec 2 (2009) ( [Rec] 2 ) ( Rec Two ) [ NON-USA FORMAT, Blu-Ray, Reg.B Import - Spain ]There's some clever story telling that inter-loops the goings on and also links it to the first Rec. However, there is less focus on the virus/zombie and the screen-play centres on a more biblical and parasite theme which takes the story in new directions. Still, it's just as fresh and a chilling as Rec and Rec 2 comes full circle in the closing shots.

Overall a great entry that has inevitably spawned a third and a Quarantine 2.

REC 3 Genesis

A wedding day is left ruined when the bride, groom, guests and staff have to survive a zombie-like attack.

Running parallel to its predecessors, Rec 3 Genesis follows the 'outbreak' during a wedding night. Director Paco Plaza's sequel although lighter in tone still has its fair share of jump scares, gore, poignant and heartbreaking lose moments. Finley edited Plaza's part 3 is compellingly shot at first in the style of first and second film however after the lengthy prologue it switches to a traditional film style with the soundtrack and score complimenting the the mood perfectly.

Here some of the 'infected' move at a slower pace, there's the obligatory blood spatter, deaths and outstanding special effects including a grizzly chainsaw scene.

Writers Luiso Berdejo, David Gallart and Plaza continue the sub-religious plot established in the other instalments including a nice touch where the rabid guests are unable to cross over hallowed ground.The supporting cast are mostly strong, notably is the bride Clara who is wonderfully portrayed by Leticia Dolera.

After all said and done, Genesis while removed slightly from the Rec and Rec 2 is a good fresh addition with a brave ending if even if a side piece companion of sorts to the originals.

An update to follow soon with Quarantine 2  Terminal (not a remake of REC 2, weird, go figure).

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