Last night I finally saw the Spanish movie “[Rec]”, the movie that “Quarantine” is based on. I had attempted once to see “[Rec]” before but I was exhausted from lack of sleep so I kept dozing. Needless to say now I got the full experience. So let’s compare a bit. “[Rec]” was a 2007 Spanish film about a late night program following some firemen into a building only to have it become invested with rage zombies and have it quarantined off by the government. The American version “Quarantine” was made in 2008 (and I gave “Let me in” crap for being made too soon). A sequel to “[Rec]” was just released in 2009.
We can start by talking about the posters of these movies. “[Rec]” featured the main actress looking sweaty and disheveled. It’s a scary and gritty image. Meanwhile in the “Quarantine” camp you have a huge spoiler poster. It actually shows the main actress being dragged off into the darkness. Why the hell would they make a poster like that? It would like having Bruce Willis wearing a sheet with holes over the eyes on the poster for “Sixth Sense”.
Anyway the movie themselves are almost shot for shot the same. There are some glaring differences though. For example, you can see a hell of a lot better in in the “[Rec]” version because the lighting is better and even though the movie is filmed in that “shaky cam” technique it still manages to not seem like it was held on a paint mixer. “Quarantine” is all over the place.
“Quarantine” also just has a few scenes that are just arbitrary. For example, a rat runs right up to the camera man who just steps on it and kills it. It adds nothing to story. Then when being attacked by a horrible zombie the cameraman attacks the assailant with the camera. Oh, and I don’t mean just uses the camera like a bat like a smart person would. He uses the LENS and bashes her brains in with it and the camera continues to work perfectly after the fact. If the director intended to freak people out with this he FAILED because the audience was laughing their asses off watching this. “[Rec]” actually had more class.
I’m siding with “[Rec]” once again when it comes to the main actresses. While Manuela Velasco can sometimes come off childlike in appearance her portrayal of fear is still pretty genuine sounding and she doesn’t come off like a scenery chewing spaz. Unlike Jennifer Carpenter, Of “Dexter” fame who stutters, cries, and makes so much noise you’d think an ice truck killer was after her.
But the BIG thing that makes “[Rec]” superior is that it actually explains what the hell is going a little better, or at least attempts to. There is a scene where an old woman infected by the virus has somehow managed to subdue, bite and throw a full grow fireman over a railing. In “Quarantine” no one says anything about how odd that is. In “[Rec]” the medical intern at least finds it very hard to imagine an old woman doing this to an adult man. Way to ask the question that should be on our minds guys.
Finally there is the ultimate evil that lies in the penthouse. In “Quarantine” it’s a man who is part of a doomsday cult that had stolen a virus. Not much to say there. You don’t even find out if he experimented on himself or if this weird thing is the test that went awry. But “[Rec]” told us a different story. The penthouse was rented by a man that was an agent of the Vatican that found a virus believed to be the cause of demonic possession. The agent kidnapped a possessed girl bringing her to the penthouse to be experiment on. The virus mutated becoming contagious so he sealed her up in the room hoping she would die of dehydration and starvation while he left the city. So the girl was this emaciated ghoulish thing now. That is a COOL backstory and you find it all out by his notes and tape recordings.
Bottom line is “[Rec]” is a good movie. Seeing “Quarantine” first made me wonder what it could possibly bring to the table. But it impressed me greatly. I recommend it to anyone who hasn’t seen “Quarantine” and especially to anyone who thought “Quarantine” was watchable but lacking in some areas. If you want to see it for free there is a site I’m becoming a huge fan of, fearnet.com. Check it out.