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October 13, 2009


2007, Dir. by Jaume Balaguero & Paco Plaza.

The thing I've noticed most about horror in the new millennium is that you really have to look for the good ones (Or, you have to know people whose opinions you trust that look for the good ones...that's what I do, it's far easier). There have been a lot of excellent, original, and occasionally terrifying films that have popped up all over the globe this decade, except for in Hollywood where people would rather let someone else make them and throw together a remake on the cheap.

Such is the case with [REC], which American audiences might recognize as Quarantine. Held back for a DVD release until long after Quarantine's (meager) buck had been made, the Spanish original is now unleashed for all to see, and it's well worth finding.

Filmed in a style similar to Cloverfield (which, I remind you, it predates),our story follows a TV reporter and her unseen cameraman as they spend an evening with a crew of fire fighters. The monotonous evening is disrupted by a call to assist an elderly woman who's trapped in her apartment, and the distress turns out to be more dangerous than ever expected. Before any questions can be answered, a quarantine (get it?) is establishedby the police; and the residents, firemen, and our intrepid reporter are trapped inside the building to figure out what exactly is wrong with this old woman...and anyone that's injured throughout the night.

The infected are not at all friendly, and the film quickly matures into a real-time race for the finish, with our characters attempts to find answers quickly dissolving into a battle for survival. At under 75 minutes, the film is a brisk one, but it fills the minutes with buckets of tension and frantic situations that keep the viewer on the edge of their seat. It's a little disappointing that there aren't many answers given by the ending, but this also leaves the viewer a lot to ponder after the credits roll, and is a great conversation starter.

For anyone looking for an intense horror film, I can't recommend [REC] enough. It manages to create a dangerous situation, fill it with dangerous situations and well-placed scares, and doesn't wear out its welcome. There's also a lot of blood for the gorehounds, and the infected might hit the zombie lover's sweet spot, too. If you want to make your nerves tingle, pass by that copy of Quarantine (despite the too-cute Jennifer Carpenter in the lead) at your local video store and pick this one up. I promise it's good for a few good nightmares and will remind you to keep your doors locked and your neighbors on the outside. It's a Prime Choice.


Braden said...

This one scared the living crap out of Jen and I.

Anonymous said...

WOO HOO on both the review and the movie.

I can't tell you how wonderful it was to be frightened that way. I know i have said it before, but the American remake should not have wimped out on the slight explanation we get from the Spanish movie. I think they could have handled it well enough.

Cannot wait for the sequel, and am hoping they keep things tense and don't just aim for more violence, kills, and gross outs.

: said...

I wouldn't rank the [REC] films among my faves, if only because I'm sick and tired of zombies (yeah, I know these aren't really "zombies", per se), but I do dig 'em. I've enjoyed every one.

I will say this: That . . . thing . . . at the very end of the first [REC] is one of the creepiest creatures I've ever seen in a horror film. Just thinking about it gives me goosebumps.