Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza
Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza
Manuela Velasco as Ángela Vidal
Ferran Terraza as Manu
Jorge-Yamam Serrano as Policía Jove
Pablo Rosso as Pablo
David Vert as Alex
Quarantine, the inevitable American version of last year’s outstanding Spanish horror prodigy, REC (named for the label on the RECord button of a videocam), is due out October 10, and I expect audiences who have been bombarded with the Quarantine trailer for many moons now in American theaters to rush out in droves to see it. There is, however, no need. If you have brains enough to be able to read English subtitles and follow the action at the same time (not exactly a difficult feat), the original film, destined to be a classic, is available for your viewing horror right now.
REC purports to be actual live footage (a laThe Blair Witch Project) of a local TV reporter’s mundane human interest story about firemen turned nightmare. It is told in the same shaky-cam fashion–without all the shake, luckily, since the cameraman character, Pablo, is a TV professional–as Blair Witch and Cloverfield, another successful recent horror film. Reporter Angela is a bubbly and extremely attractive presence in front of the camera, and she begins her interviews at the firehouse with all the enthusiasm and attention to detail an ambitious local anchorchick might be expected to display. Her enthusiasm is doubled when, after a long night of walking the halls trying to find something interesting to record, the alarm bell finally rings and the guys spring into action. At long last, it seems, she is going to get to show her viewers some of the excitement and heroics inherent in the life of the fireman.
The call, it turns out, is from an apartment building and concerns something about an old lady who lives there. Probably a heart attack or something, everyone is thinking. But when they arrive, they find police cars everywhere, the inhabitants of the building milling about, and no one any clearer about what’s going on than they are. They rush upstairs, Angela and Pablo in tow, and find the woman, disheveled and bloody, wobbling unsteadily in the back of her apartment. It is at this point that the story begins its 28 Days Later-meets-Mulberry Street arc of juicy, bloody terror.
REC is about what happens when a rapid-acting, rabies-like virus is unleashed upon an urban population and authorities are unable to contend with it. Their answer: strict, absolute quarantine, of the if-you-try-to-leave-you-will-be-shot variety. The whole building is sheathed in plastic, snipers are stationed outside, and the unlucky people on the inside–cops, firemen, reporters, occupants; everybody–are left confined with a rapidly expanding population of human Cujos. It’s a very frightening scenario, not the least because it is altogether too plausible.
At this point you pretty much know, in a general way, what to expect, so I’ll say no more, other than that this is no Disney movie: don’t expect an ending full of sweetness and light. Just know that technically and artistically, the film is top-notch, with the only real stumbling block to its credibility being Pablo’s willingness to keep filming long after any sane person would have said “Screw this” and begun looking for a bed to hide under (also, to a certain degree, people’s preference for being eaten alive over being shot to death is a little hard to understand). Despite this, I RECommend REC to you very highly indeed, as one of the very best horror movies of 2007, if not THE best. Don’t miss it.