REC has been making its rounds in the festival and cinema circuit, while us folks here have to sit around and twiddle our thumbs, wondering if it'll ever make it to our shores. Hollywood reckoned it was worthy of a remake, and they did Quarantine, which was surprisingly made quite fast, and was penned to be released here as well. Guess someone got smart and decided to pre-empt that remake version with the original, and for some, the decision will be whether to double dip, stick to the original, or the remake when it's released at the end of the month.
This is one effective, relatively low budget movie along the same veins of horror movies making good use of the shaky cam. Those who feel queasy will naturally want to give this a miss, but then again, you'll be giving up on some really scary stuff here designed to put those shaky constraints and limitations to the test. Of course there's a story to follow, and despite its short run time, there are enough material here to build up the back story, as well as presenting the lead characters as someone you'd really care about in wanting them to emerge from this strange ordeal unscathed.
We follow a television crew in their filming of an episode of "While You're Asleep", where journalist Angela (Manuela Velasco) and her cameraman Pablo (Pablo Rosso, of course it's natural to name this cameraman after your DOP) follow the adventures of firemen in their neighbourhood. In a strange pre-emptive irony, the chief commented that 70% of the time they deal with, instead of fires, rather mundane stuff like rescuing pets, or some other unexpected incidents. I guess nothing will prepare them for what's to come.
So an SOS call is made, and for the entire movie, we follow the point of view of the cameraman, as our entourage arrive at a small building where you have an old woman lumbering around before starting to attack the policeman on duty. Before you know it, they're ordered by the authorities outside the building to listen to the duty cop, and to stay at all times at the lobby hallway. The building gets physically quarantined, and soon everyone starts getting jittery with the lack of information.
Saying too much will be letting the cat out of the bag, but suffice to say that every capability of a camera was put to good use here, and there were moments which draw the audience into rapturous cheers and even drew some unintended laughter, but for the most parts, it's really an effective mix of silence and noise, and plenty of confidence in knowing what to show verbatim, and when to pull back to obscure. After all, the best horror device here to put into use, are everyone's imagination just how bad things have deteriorated and become, planting catalysts into the minds via sneaky peeps.
It's quite excellent on many fronts, such as how low frills this can actually be, but yet present itself in engaging and entertaining ways. For those looking for a good scare, look no further than REC. And yes, I'll be double dipping and watching Quarantine, just to see if Hollywood can bastardize something incredible, and dumb it down unnecessarily through the need to explain everything.