“There are incredible security measures in place. We know nothing. They haven’t told us a thing. We saw special forces, health inspectors wearing suits and masks, and it’s not very comforting. “
Quarantined in an apartment building as a mysterious illness begins to spread among its inhabitants, a reporter named Angela (Manuela Velasco) and her cameraman, Pablo (Pablo Rosso) fight to capture the unfolding events and stay alive.
Many people will have already seen, or at least heard of, the American remake of REC, Quarantine starring Jennifer Carpenter. Quarantine is a more or less faithful interpretation of the chilling Spanish version if, you’ll excuse me, it decided to forego the inclusion of the religious angle. The main issue I will take with REC, beside the shaky, nausea-inducing camerawork provided by Pablo which borders on the unwatchable, is the religious tie-in to the apparent cause of the illness infecting the apartment’s inhabitants; a theme which is expanded and made more apparent in the sequel: REC 2.
It is enough to have a contagious, unknown virus that spreads and infects with such rapidity as depicted in REC. It is enough for the cast of characters to be trapped, against their will, by authorities who refuse to aid their wounded or explain what is happening. It is enough to be fighting for survival, no hope of help or escape, without power, weapons, and food. It’s enough! You don’t need to add in some hokey demon-possession mumbo jumbo. I’m sure some of you are into religious horror films, and when done properly than can be absolutely terrifying. But, look elsewhere for it. REC will only give you a muted, muddled taste of that.
I digress, if for no other reason that REC is a terrific fright of a film for its core concept. Its pacing is so frenetic that you will only be able to look away when the camera’s movements become too much for you. There is so much going on, so quickly, that you will literally miss something in doing so. The action is positively relentless.
Another downer, but ultimately an inseparable side effect to this time of film making is the presentation of relatively one dimensional, or flat characters. Baring in mind our horror 101 rule that you must care about the characters, the only reason REC is able to scare the crap out of you is that you are forced to view the entire film through Pablo’s eyes. It’s a heavy-handed technique in this case, but by thrusting you into the film through a constant, linear first person experience, you are in the action. There will be no escape.
I’m a big fan of Spanish horror films, and I get the culturally significant religious undertones even if I don’t enjoy them in this context. REC is a home-run of a horror film that will leaving you covering your face, jumping out of your seat and screaming out loud.
1.) Yes. Always have an exit strategy and take things seriously. It’s Girl Scouts 101: be prepared.
2.) Yes. The type of scenario present in REC taps into very basic primal fears of being trapped and hunted. Beyond that, the infected in the film are presented with a ferocity and relentlessness that’s enough to plague your dreams.
3.) Yes. The filmmaker’s enjoyed turning out the lights and letting us be engulfed in the darkness, and everyone knows that’s where everything bad is. Plenty of anxious moments and plenty of gore.
Wiki facts: REC
Watch or buy REC on Amazon