Most audience members stumbling into “Quarantine” will have no idea it’s a remake of a 2007 Spanish horror film titled “Rec.” I can’t blame anyone for their ignorance, since the original picture never broke through to
Sent on an assignment to cover a night at the average
There’s nothing broad to be found in “Quarantine” that directly separates it from “Rec.” Director John Erick Dowdle (of the unreleasable “The Poughkeepsie Tapes”) crafts a straightforward copy of the Spanish film, preserving the same plot and scare beats, but altering the corners of the writing to put his fat stamp on the picture. To Americanize “Rec,” “Quarantine” introduces crude sexual tension between Angela and the firemen, and turns our camera-ready hostess from a frustrated lifestyle reporter to a veritable sorority pledge, with Dowdle encouraging Carpenter to play daft instead of confident, ultimately reducing Angela’s role in the overall scheme of things.
The changes are minor, but they do add up, wandering away from “Rec” in all the wrong ways. The original film spent some time with the characters, “Quarantine” quickly sets up the humans as zombie food, with little development beyond differing puncture wounds. “Rec” was a multi-layered visual piece of broadcasting verisimilitude, resembling a chaotic news explosion; the remake retains an unacceptable glossy look, highlighting the already recognizable cast as humdrum actors, not frantic citizens trapped in Hell. Also, while “Rec” didn’t win any awards for steady cinematography, director Jaume Balaguero and
Reviewing “Quarantine” on its own merits is a difficult challenge, since “Rec” is as close to perfection as fright films get these days. To the uninitiated, the remake will be easy enough to swallow, with plenty of cheap boo scares and hysterical Carpenter overacting to justify the price of admission. For “Rec” fans, there’s no reason to return to this story, since
— D plus