Quarantine (2008)
Main cast: Jennifer Carpenter (Angela Vidal), Scott Percival (Steve Harris), Jay Hernandez (Jake), Rade Šerbedžija (Yuri), Danny (Colombus Short), Andrew Fiscella (James), Greg Germann (Lawrence), and Johnathon Schaech (Fletcher),
Director: John Erick Dowdle

Boy, Hollywood sure can work fast. It has been only about a year when Quarantine is released fresh off the success of the Spanish movie REC, and in fact, the release of REC in American theaters had been delayed until this one has had its moment under the sun. Having watched REC before Quarantine, I can see why.

First, the plot. Just like in REC, this one has Angela Vidal, the host of a candid reality TV show, and her camera man Scott follow firemen Jake and Fletcher on what seems like a simple gig: to assist the cops in breaking down the door of an old woman's apartment. Dear Mrs Espinoza has locked herself in, you see, and she seems to be sick. Well, she is sick - she starts biting like a professional from George A Romero's zombie flicks in no time. Before long, the other people in the apartment block are infected, while the building becomes quarantined and nobody is allowed to leave.

Apart from the additional of a few scenes and some lines here and there, Quarantine is pretty much a complete rehash of REC. The new scenes and lines are mostly cosmetic additions - most of the plot, the rising action, and even the way climatic scenes are set up are lifted from the Spanish movie. The only difference here is that the source of the infection is now a biochemical compound smuggled out by a doomsday cult nutcase instead of an attempt at saving a possessed girl gone awry.

Like REC, this one is a well-executed movie, but I don't know how much credit should be given to the people behind this movie, as they basically copy and paste much of the other movie and apply some cosmetic glitter to make the movie more accessible to the average American. Basically, there isn't much in this movie that stands out as a genuine fresh twist on REC, and the things that are different, such as the removal of the religious elements from the plot, don't really improve things. This is an enjoyable flick, but so was REC.

If you have watched REC, there is not much point in rushing out to watch Quarantine. They are both very similar where it counts, so one makes the other redundant. Since I watch REC first, I'm giving the edge to that one. Being there first counts, and I also think the removal of the religious elements in Quarantine strips the plot of some much-needed distinguishing feature that makes it different from other zombie movies out there.

Rating: 80

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