REC vs. Quarantine cheat sheet

Posted by Cory Casciato On May - 21 - 2010

So, you’ve seen REC and you’re wondering if you should bother with Quarantine? Or perhaps it was the other way around? Or maybe you’ve seen neither but you’d like to and you need some help figuring out which one you should watch, or watch first? Or maybe you just like to read things that set up imaginary grudge matches between related movies? Well then, today is your lucky day: here’s a breakdown of REC and Quarantine that should fulfill any and all of those desires.

The Deal: If you were somehow unaware of the fact, REC and Quarantine are, essentially, the same movie. REC came first, from the far off land of Spain in 2007. Then Hollywood decided to remake it in English with prettier actors who had more star power and, voilá, Quarantine was born in 2008. I reviewed both of them this week: REC reviewQuarantine review. This is a handy breakdown of the differences.


Positives -

  • It’s the original
  • Tighter pacing & better sense of panicked chaos
  • More charismatic actors
  • More believable as a recording made by a news crew, which is supposedly what it/they are
  • Ending is definitely the creepier of the two

Negatives -

  • Realistic lighting means it’s occasionally hard to see
  • It’s in Spanish, so subtitles require reading unless you habla Espanol.


Positives -

  • Better looking actors
  • Slightly larger cast allows for higher body count
  • Better lighting makes it easier to see the action
  • A couple of nice gore shots that don’t appear in REC
  • No reading!

Negatives -

  • Seems padded, which hurts the breakneck pacing that defines the original
  • Lead actress’s hysterical shtick at the end gets old really fast, but keeps going and going…
  • Scene where cameraman beats zombie to death with camera challenges suspension of disbelief (not even a crack in the lens? Really?)

Just Different

A few minor differences that can be considered neither pluses nor minuses.

  • The camera gets shut off a few more times in REC. Technically, more believable, but fairly irrelevant
  • REC offers supernatural explanation, Quarantine a natural explanation.
  • A few scenes get shifted around minorly here and there to little effect

The Verdict

REC is the superior film, without question. It’s better paced, more believable and never annoying. If you simply want the best, watch REC. That said, Quarantine isn’t bad and if it existed in a vacuum, it wouldn’t be a hard film to recommend on its own merits. It has some minor flaws, but nothing heinous enough to kill the fun. And if you hate certain elements of REC — I suspect the supernatural explanation might turn off a few and I know many people hate subtitles — or perhaps have a giant crush on Jennifer Carpenter, who stars in Quarantine, then Quarantine will do the job in a pinch. Personally, I have no issue with subtitles and I feel the remake sucked enough of the insane tension out of the original as to make itself pointless, so I strongly recommend REC. Share your thoughts on either or both in the comments.

Oh, and if this was a caged grudge-match to the death, I see REC taking out Quarantine and still having enough energy left over to eat the face off the judges and trainers.

12 Responses to “REC vs. Quarantine cheat sheet”

  1. jond76 says:

    Hey, I told you about my Jen Carpenter crush in confidence! Ha.

    I honestly think a lot depends on which one you see first. I saw Quarantine first, so when I finally got around to seeing REC, I was comparing it to a movie I really liked.

    I really liked the cool shot in Quarantine when they threw the African lady down the stairs. Also, the dog kill scene was added in Quarantine.

    I thought I’d heard about a Quarantine sequel that goes in a totally different direction than REC 2. I hope that gets made.

  2. @Jond76 – I’m pretty certain you aren’t the only one out there with a crush of Jennifer Carpenter. She’s quite comely.

    I can see the “whichever first” point. I made a point of seeing REC first. I will ask a friend who saw Quarantine first what he thought…

    The two shots I liked from Quarantine were the one fireman walking on his compound fracture and the brain drill. I kind of felt the dog scene was dumb and the throwing off the stairs mirrored the other stairwell shock from earlier.

    And yeah, word is Quarantine 2 is set in an airport, totally unconnected to REC 2. It’s supposed to be direct to dvd, but that’s not really an issue, I’ve seen plenty of good direct to dvd zombie films. I am curious to see what becomes of it.

  3. Zombie Shakespeare says:

    When you’re referring to [REC] out loud do you say “rec” or “record”. I’m presenting this movie for an upcoming Zombie Movie Night, and I’m not sure how to properly address it. Please help.

  4. I’ve always pronounced it “rec” personally.

  5. Zombie Shakespeare says:

    I just watched REC, I had already seen Quarantine. I enjoyed both of them and find it difficult to really pick one over the other. I think, I’d go with Quarantine, though. Carpenter’s panicky annoyingness at the end is bad, but I liked the Quarantine explanation better. I also liked the dog scene and the walking fracture scene. I agree with Jond’s point too, if I had seen REC first, my opinion might be different.

  6. JoBeck says:

    lol so sad. Better looking actors? Forgot thats what makes a better movie. More gore shots, figures Americans can’t make a suspenful and scary movie without all the gore.

  7. Jay says:

    Quarantine had better looking actors? Jennifer Carpenter doesn’t even come close to good looking, especially compared to the female reporter in REC. Which matters the most, since that character gets the most screen time. With that said, that shouldn’t even be relevant.

  8. Bud7205 says:

    JoBack, haven’t you ever seen The Blair Witch Project? Typical stereotyping.

  9. Akhmed says:

    Are you kidding me Jay? Jennifer is a good looking girl. She was my favorite actress in that Movie.

  10. clare eade says:

    Just quick question i love quarantine and have seen quarantine 2 and like that too! Someone mentioned possession and demons but thats not quarentine is it quarentene is about military making infection for warfare isn’t it and rec about demons etc! ???

  11. @Clare, the REC series (SPOILER ALERT!!!) does in fact (Seriously, stop reading if you are spoiler averse!) reference demons as the cause of its zombies.

  12. […] already know that the 2008 film Quarantine was based directly off of this film, and according to the internet, most people tend to like the original better.  I agree with “most people” on this […]

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