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Original Spanish Horror film Remade as "Quarantine"

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Terrifying and utterly brilliant; this Spanish flick is horror movie heaven.

  • Jan 28, 2011
Rating:
+4
***1/2 out of ****

Damn, do those Spaniards know good horror! My first Spanish horror flick was "The Orphanage", which I loved, and my latest descent into the horrific side of "el espanol" is a darn good one. "REC" is a chilling and often times frightening horror film; taken from the simplest of concepts and turned into something surprisingly strong in quality. Not only is it actually scary, but it's also a superbly acted, well-directed, and stylishly awesome film. This is the kind of horror movie that I want to see whenever an interesting premise is let loose onto the world. I just came across this one, and I'm glad that I gave it a good shot. What makes "REC" so good is the camera work. The shaky camera work, which shall please most die-hard horror fans and then piss off those who get motion sickness from watching it, actually works to the film's benefit. It makes the film scarier, more thrilling, more suspenseful, and all-around better. I suppose I don't absolutely cherish this film, but it's a real genuine treat for just about anyone who loves good horror. And believe me; I love good horror. It's good to the point where you could even call it great. The film merely builds upon its premise. It's not an original film; but it's creepy, intense, and awesome when it wants to be. However, what I love about the thing is how well handled it is. Few horror films are crafted with this much wit and such a genuine understanding of what the word "scary" really means. "REC" is a smart horror film, and it doesn't show everything in extreme detail. It's gory, yes, but never to the point where it's just not scary. This is perhaps one of the scariest films since "The Descent"; a beautiful and riveting vision of foreign terror that can only rank amongst one of the finer genre entries I've seen. If you want good horror; then I suppose you should turn your head to Spanish cinema. They seem to be doing pretty good in terms of creating modern horror classics, but maybe that's just me. So I recommend "REC" to all horror fans since there's just not enough "good" in horror to go around. This is one of the best horror films of the 2000's, and it's also one of the finest this man has possibly ever seen. There's plenty to be pleased with here; and that's coming from a guy who likes horror when it's fresh, stylish, and best of all, good. "REC" is all of these things. That essentially explains why I liked it so much.

The film begins with a lady news reporter. She is hoping to get a good story when she follows a team of Fire-Fighters to a building when they receive a call regarding an un-specified danger. They go without knowing of the horrors that they shall both see and hear. Upon arriving, strange things start to happen. When they go up to the room of the woman who was apparently in trouble, she bites on of their men. He bleeds to death as many other things happen; one of which is an unidentified Fireman falling to his death from the top of the stairs. It becomes apparent that something is wrong when men in masks start to quarantine the area. As it turns out, there's a virus let loose inside the building. And since nobody can get out, we have a "fight-for-survival" film on our hands. The entire film becomes one such ordeal for the characters, and believe me when I say that it's very entertaining to watch. Occasionally, it can be a very frightening film; as the infected never cease to pop up when you'd expect them, or in some cases, least expect them. The genius of this film is that even if you're expecting it to happen, you still jump. And you learn to accept that this film is indeed quite the fright. "REC" is a smart and intelligent handling of a familiar set-up. It's like a mix of "The Blair Witch Project" and "28 Days Later", and it's quite the effective romp. I find horror films fun to watch; especially when they're as scary as this one. I was treated to a handful of thrills throughout, although some scenes in particular had me shocked at the film's intensive craft. One such scene, or sequence, was the night-vision scene near the end. This scene was a mix of thrills, scares, and the suspense that led up to the awful (as in potentially bloody and death-abound) but satisfactory end. There's something that I really loved about watching this film, and I assume that only half of it is a result of its utter brilliance. This is a film for any hardcore horror fan, although others may not see the brilliance in it. You can't go into this film a newbie and expect to enjoy it as much as I did; you need to KNOW horror. And yes, I do indeed (somewhat) know what true horror is; I know what is frightening to me at least. "REC" is a rare horror film that is good yet uses imagery and sounds to frighten us, rather than thoughts. It's unique and lovingly made; the filmmakers obviously love horror films to make one so good. Horror fans rejoice; this is the film for us.

There are actually some good performances in this little film. Manuela Velasco plays the news lady who is thrown into a tough-as-nails situation. Her performance gets more riveting as the film gets more serious and intense. By the end you start to consider that perhaps she will no longer be a news lady if she even survives this ordeal. There's no charm to Velasco's performance, but as a woman in a horror film, you only really need a good screamer. And Velasco is a hell of a screamer. There were several good performances aside from that of Velasco, even if she seems to shine the most. Ferran Terraza was very good. For some reason, I find people like him to be oddly endearing in films like these. It must be a personal thing, I suppose.

You have probably heard many things about "REC", although the one thing you probably know is that its scary stuff; a true horror film. Most critics praised it for its use of handheld camera-work, while others also added that the acting and direction were both very good. I agree on all levels; this is an ingenious horror film. It's a fairly frightening experience that may not have quite as much scares as I would have preferred, but quite enough to keep me entertained throughout. I love a good horror film just as much as anyone does, and "REC" is one of the better entries of the past decade. I love the fact that it's Spanish, and I'm convinced that the Spaniards know what true horror is. The word scary should not be insulted as much as it is these days; and "REC" is the type of film that respects the word as few truly can. This is indeed a "scary" horror movie; after all, most GOOD horror flicks are. What makes it better than merely scary is the fact that the aim is so good, and it achieves just about all it can. You could even call it compelling. While it's not perfect (not completely), "REC" is as good as it gets. You'll have little luck finding a better horror film these days, and it's one of the better film entries for its year. I really loved the style of it, and the efforts of the directors seem to pay off in ways I could have never expected. It's also good to know that the remake probably sucks, at least when comparing it to this frightening beauty. If there's one real reason to see "REC", then it's because it is a scary film. If you don't like scary films, then you won't like "REC". Things can indeed be THAT simple. But as long as you're in for a scare, there's reason to check out this Spanish horror flick. It's a great achievement for the frightening foreigners of Spain; and I quite admire what some of their boys have made here. This is a fine work of terror. A fine work indeed.

It's easy to forget what fear is these days. With classics such as "The Exorcist" and John Carpenter's "Halloween" so far off in time; it seems nigh impossible for modern horror classics to even exist. But I was wrong in my assumption. "REC" is indeed a modern horror marvel; a scary film that knows just how good it is. I can't recommend it more to horror fans, although everyone else might as well be left out in the cold. I like the look and style of this film; it really helps to make it the piece of work that it is. It makes me want to sequel and regardless of how good it is, the 2008 remake. This film is simply good, good stuff; the kind that is so scarce nowadays. ESPECIALLY in horror. There's a lot to look at here; both artistically and horror-wise. Perhaps it is a spectacular film not only because it is scary; but also because it has characters and tells a competent story. It's not incredible on a narrative scale, but certain scenes made me wonder just what other secrets lie within. None of these things are expanded upon, but as it is, "REC" is a mighty fine film. It is a nigh perfect solution to the horror-movie sickness; the never-ending feeling of awfulness in this world. And yes, most of it resides in horror films. Why can't they all be like "REC", or even better, "The Orphanage" (which is as I mentioned a GREAT Spanish horror film)? Why can't there be more geniuses like directors Juame Balaguero and Paco Plaza? I think that these men have potential as great future filmmakers, and I really hope that they go on to be bigger. "REC" means a good future ahead for the pair; and it's a great success for two guys who really shouldn't be as good as they actually are. This is a wonderful movie; and horror is once again a wonderful genre; as long as you look in the right places. As I said; look to Spain for guidance. They will most definitely help quench the thirst for good, solid horror.

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January 29, 2011
I am totally with you on this one! Great review. Have you seen its sequel? I heard that they will be making this one a Quadrilogy.  I'll be back to check out the rest of your stuff, I am off to see a flick today. Thanks!
 
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More [REC] reviews
review by . March 26, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Movie Poster
This is a review of the NC-17 (category III) release. The award-winning, blockbuster Spanish horror film "REC" had already been remade for U.S. audiences under the nom de plume "Quarantine". I have seen both horror films, and I have decided to focus on reviewing the original film rather than comparing the two. Directed by Jaume Balaguero, "REC" is a film that adapts the first person, POV style shaky camera style that was first adapted by "Blair Witch Project" …
About the reviewer
Ryan J. Marshall ()
Ranked #3
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … more
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Wiki

REC received 14 horror awards in Europe and had achieved box-office success in Spain--lasting 4 weeks in the number 1 spot.

Remade as Quarantine.

  • REC
  •  
  • R
    bloody horror violence and language
  • A reporter (Manuela Velasco) and her cameraman record the horrifying outbreak of a disease that turns humans into vicious cannibals.
  • Cast: Manuela Velasco, Ferran Terraza, Jorge-Yamam Serrano, Manuel Bronchud, Martha Carbonell, Carlos Lasarte, Carlos Vicente, David Vert
  • Director: Jaume Balagueró
  • Genres: HorrorAvant-garde / ExperimentalPsychological Thriller
  • Poster art for "[REC]."
  • view wiki

    Details

    Genre: Horror
    Release Date: November 23, 2007
    MPAA Rating: Unrated, R
    Screen Writer: Jaume Balagueró, Paco Plaza
    Runtime: 75 minutes
    Studio: Filmax
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