Quarantine (2008) Review

Quarantine is pointless. As a film, it’s actually a waste of time. A waste of the actors time, the directors time and possibly worst of all, the audiences time. Quarantine is the very common form of movie, the remake. Except Quarantine fits into a very specific category of remake, the worst kind, the scene for scene, exact remake.

Quarantine is a remake of the Spanish film REC which was released in 2007, literally the year before. I can understand why the remake exists. The first film is considered a foreign language movie. It’s understandably in Spanish and is viewed with English subtitles for people who don’t speak the language. This doesn’t appeal to a lot of people and the film was a success, so Hollywood decide to release an English version of the movie, cashing-in on people who don’t want to read subtitles.

The Italian Job – Reimagining not Remake!

Now I’m not against all remakes. The perfect example of the more acceptable remake is The Italian Job. The original was released in 1969, starred Michael Caine and went on to become a classic of British and worldwide cinema. The remake was made in 2003, starred Mark Wahlberg and tried to recreate the success of the original.

The difference here, between The Italian Job and Quarantine, is the Italian Job wasn’t a straight remake. If it needed a label, “reimagining” would be more appropriate. It kept the same themes, the key scenes and ideas but actually created a film that was very different and hopefully better than the original. (It wasn’t, I don’t really like either of the Italian Job films, they just do a good job of helping me make a point).

The very effective and scary, night-vision ending of Quarantine.

Quarantine isn’t a reimagining. It is literally a straight, scene for scene, moment for moment remake of the Spanish film released only a year before. This wouldn’t be so bad if the original Spanish film was an innovative, incredible piece of horror. It isn’t. Its mediocre, unoriginal and does nothing to advance the found footage genre. Which means Quarantine is mediocre, unoriginal and does nothing to advance the found footage genre.

Look familiar?

The basic idea is good. People trapped inside a building while zombies attack them, all being caught on a television crew’s camera, but get past this thin piece of originality and its nothing that hasn’t been done in Paranormal Activity, Blair Witch or even Cloverfield.

This is why Quarantine is more infuriating. It is a chance for a director or a film studio to build on the best aspects of the original (the ending, shot in night-vision is an effective, scary scene) and then improve on the parts of the Spanish film that didn’t work. Instead, the film is kept completely the same and the result is the same movie, with English being spoken rather than Spanish.

Quarantine was a chance to improve on what made the original so mediocre.

The director of Quarantine and REC are also different people. This means that rather than create his own vision and version of the film REC, keeping the same basic idea but creating something new and hopefully better, John Erick Dowdle was happy to copy and release someone elses work. Most people would call that plagiarism!

My advice, for anyone wanting to see Quarantine, is not to. Watch REC. If you don’t like subtitles, watch REC in English dubbing. If you don’t like people’s mouths not quite lining up with what is being said, then watch Quarantine.

Better yet, don’t watch either of these mediocre found footage horror films and actually go straight to REC 2 which is far superior and actually a very good example of how to make found footage in an original and scary way.

Overall, Quarantine is a perfect example of what is wrong with Hollywood generally. People are complaining about a lack of original ideas and its hard to argue against it when a film is released which is an exact copy of another film which came out only a year before. Quarantine feels like a missed opportunity to improve on the original film which was average at best anyway.

Rating 1.5

(1 – Awful, 2 – Average, 3 – Good, 4 – Great, 5! – Must See)

Watch REC 2 instead!

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