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, voilÃ¡, Quarantine was born in 2008. I reviewed both of them this week: REC review – Quarantine review. This is a handy breakdown of the differences.
- 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
- Realistic lighting means it’s occasionally hard to see
- It’s in Spanish, so subtitles require reading unless you habla Espanol.
- 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!
- 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?)
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
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 seeÂ REC taking outÂ Quarantine and still having enough energy left over to eat the face off the judges and trainers.