These days, it’s hard to find a movie that’s really truly original. Everything is either an adaptation of a book, a remake of a something from the 70’s 80’s or an American bastardization of a great foreign film. Modern horror movies are no exception to this rule. Hollywood has churned out tons of horror remakes from successful international films (often unbeknownst to the U.S. audience). The effectiveness of these films generally falls short of the original. A few exceptions come to mind however, The Ring, Let Me In, and today’s featured film: Quarantine. Directed by John Erick Dowdle, this 2008 remake of the Spanish found footage flick [REC], does its job pretty well. It doesn’t quite deliver the same punch that the original did, but it’s a solid remake, that remains true to the things we loved about [REC].
That being said, as I watched this, I found myself asking, “why did they even make this movie in the first place?” It’s really almost a shot-for-shot remake of the original, with a dumbed-down ending and explanation. So the answer to “why?” is simple. Some people are too fat, lazy, and stupid to read subtitles while watching a movie. Hollywood spotted a great movie and wanted to cash in on it. Rather than directly releasing it in its original version, they decided to reshoot the entire thing in English so that they could get $10.50 from the all the drunken, meth-head rednecks who would never go see a movie with subtitles. My response to that is: we should not cater to the knuckle-dragging lowest-common denominator. If Honey Boo Boo’s mom won’t strap herself and the rest of her litter of toothless, illiterate swine to the back of a flat-bed truck and waddle down to the local theater because the movie “ain’t even in English” then fuck them. That should be the threshold for mandatory sterilization.
But I’m getting a little off topic. I’m going to forgo a long-winded review of this movie because it really is exactly the same as REC, which I reviewed a couple of months ago. The movie follows a camera crew who is shadowing some firemen on a rescue call to an apartment building. The building is infested with ravenous zombies who start eating everyone. The CDC/military locks the building down and quarantines them inside. They try to escape/find out the cause of the disease and they find something horrible in the attic. You should really just watch the original instead. Same movie, but it’s scarier. If you take this movie out of context and don’t look at it as a remake, then it’s a solid horror movie. It’s scary, suspenseful, intense, and has a decent story. It’s paced really well and it keeps you on your toes throughout the whole thing.
I know it’s not really fair to just review this movie by comparing it to the original, but if you don’t want that kind of comparison, then don’t spend $15 million remaking a movie shot for shot. Though it’s basically the same movie, there are a few things that I didn’t like about this one. I think they sacrificed some of the slow-building suspense for in-your-face intense action. This fast-paced action was in the original too but I think they ramped it up in the remake at the expense of the overall feeling of terror.
There’s not really a whole lot more to say about this one. It looks just like the original. The acting, directing, and writing are good, just like the original. Everything is almost as good as the original. Really there was no point to this movie- just selling cheap thrills to illiterate hillbillies.
The verdict: It’s good, but don’t bother. Just go see the real one. And if the thought of sitting through a 92 minute movie while reading subtitles is unpleasant to you, then go stab yourself in the eyeballs with a rusty pocket knife and watch this one. You’ll still be able to hear all the dialogue in English.
- Is it scary: 6- It’s definitely scary but I think something is lost from the original. They cranked up the voltage on the action and it didn’t quite have the scare caliber anymore.
- Originality: 1- Literally almost exactly the same. Nothing new whatsoever. The only thing they changes was the reasoning behind the infection. And the new explanation was worse.
- Blood: 7- Definitely a bloody mess. That was the best part of this one. They stayed true to the gore factor.
- Believability: 4– As with the original, I had problems believing that people would do a lot of what they did in this movie. I just felt that peoples’ reactions to the situations were unrealistic.
- Setting/Cinematography: 5- Found Footage: Minus 1 point. They seemed to use the found footage as a way to get around showing us certain things. I want to see what’s happening. It doesn’t add to the authenticity or believability to have the camera shaking everywhere. Even if it did, would it be worth it at the cost of showing the audience what’s going on? No.
Final Score: 23/50