Hey, everyone. ”Moriarty” here. I’m a big believer in Team Dowdle. I don’t give a shit what people say. THE POUGHKEEPSIE TAPES works on audiences, and the fact that I still get angry e-mails now, almost four months after BNAT, seems to suggest the film lingers with viewers, too. Now, the Dowdles are prepping the release of QUARANTINE, their first studio picture. This is a remake of [REC], the Spanish horror sensation that’s still rolling out around the world as we speak. I’ve seen [REC], and I think it’s pretty damn good. It’s a great hook for a film, and I’m curious to see how the Dowdles handle the same material. I know they’ve started playing some viral marketing games for this one, and I’m reluctant to point them out because I think that takes away some of the fun of figuring it out. But there’s an official trailer online now, as we were informed by UGO: ”Hey guys - Here's the premiere of the the horror flick Quarantine.” If you’d like to know what readers around the world think of the original, check out the following reviews. Here’s the first from a UK reader:
Evening I post on the boards as 'kuryakin' so call me that if you decide to run this. The weirdly named Spanish horror movie [REC] opened today in the UK and I guess you'll be getting a lot of reviews coming in about it. I've seen people flipping out over this movie like it was the second coming or something, and while I wouldn't go that far, I'd have to say it was a really enjoyable experience - a good, solid horror movie that took a pretty hackneyed formula and handled it in a stylish and exciting way. The setup sees a young local TV news reporter Angela and her cameraman, Pablo being sent to cover the nightshift at the local fire department. What starts out as a boring night news-wise turns more interesting when the fire fighters are sent to an apartment building to help an old lady, whose neighbours have reported hearing her screaming. We briefly meet the neighbours and a couple of cops who are already on the scene but before long the blood-soaked old dear takes a bite out of a cop, blood sprays everywhere, everyone freaks out and the authorities outside choose this moment to reveal that the building is being quarantined due to some horrible fucking disease and the residents should kindly not attempt to leave unless they want a bullet between the eyes. Cue lots of running around and Angela realising that footage of burly men rescuing kittens from trees might have been a whole lot more fun. I'll say up-front that this film doesn't do anything new. The whole film is seen through the TV camera, with Angela addressing the audience directly for much of it - probably if there hadn't been a bunch of these types of movies recently this would have seemed a lot fresher. Not the film's fault I guess. But it does have a lot of, if not clichés, at least familiar elements: guy standing too close to a trapped 'zombie' gets chomped, the old "I'll just have a look up here in this dark space and see what's going on" and various other predictable occurrences. Also, these type of movies tend to choose from only two endings - either nobody lives or somebody lives but the virus escapes and yes, this movie doesn't break away from that. What is does have going for it is great direction (although I don't know if it needed two directors), a concise and clear character set-up and a good sense of geography. Apart from the initial fire department scenes, everything takes place within the apartment building and by revisiting places, having the characters move up and down the stairs etc, we get a real sense of the space they are confined within.This movie really does a lot to transcend its obvious low budget, to the degree that chucking more money at it wouldn't make it any better. The characters are very well drawn as well - there's a nice scene where the fire fighters are taking a head count and are introduced to all the residents and where they live. It's a contrivance obviously but it also seems like something you would really do - get to know the people you were trapped with. There isn't a whole lot of dialogue but there are smart little touches like the residents blaming the Chinese immigrants for what's going on, the old gay guy ignoring Angela to talk to Pablo and so on, that really elevate the film. It's also a brilliantly paced movie - there are some nice little beats where Angela decides to get some background interviews but when the shit starts to kick off it really goes for it and I was actually quite surprised how quickly everything turned chaotic - I was also pleasantly surprised by the short running time. What I'm saying here guys is that you won't see anything new but what you will see is a horror movie made by people who actually know what they're doing. No jokes, no twatting around with fancy camera tricks just scares, gore and some horrible shit going on. Also further proof that night-vision is really freaky and can just fuck off. I hear there's a Hollywood remake of this already in the can - if you're in the UK check this out while you still can Later folks
Hilarious. I agree about how well [REC] uses night vision. It’s upsetting in this film, and since the Dowdles have a penchant for it already, I’m reeeeally curious to see how well they milk it for effect. Here’s a second review for you:
Hi Harry, Greetings from the UK. Not at all sure if your interested in this but as I haven't seen many reviews up on your site, I thought I'd send in my 2 cents. I have just recently seen one of the best Zombie films I have seen in quite some time. Fuck you 'Diary of the Dead'.......this is the film that Romero should have made. The film I am talking about is called REC, I'd never heard of it before and caught the showing completely by accident after being issued the wrong tickets (I guess I'll have to see 21 some other time). Now I knew nothing about this film going in which probably only made the viewing experience that much better, to start off with the film is Spanish I believe and is shot documentary style ala Blair Witch. We spend the film following a female reporter as she spends the night at a Fire Station following the crew around and reporting on their daily activities etc etc, the footage that the cameraman is shooting is basically the movie that we are watching. Now the film starts out very slow at the fire station, nothing much happens for the first 15 minutes and all seems dull and boring, then all of a sudden they get a call out to an apartment building to help an elderly lady who has locked herself in (or something to that effect). So the reporter goes off with the fire crew on the call, at this point the remainder of the film takes place within the confines of this apartment block where literally the shit hits the fan. I don't want to give to much away but if you like any of the following............zombies, gore, fast paced action.....then your gonna love this film. I quick check on the net reveals that this film isn't being released in the states till October and will be called Quarantine. I strongly recommend you check this one out when you can. Cheers, If you use this then call me Double_Down
You’re slightly wrong, there, Double Down. I’m not sure [REC] is coming out here at all this year. Chance are, the distributor will hold it until after QUARANTINE has had its shot theatrically. One last review from longtime spy DannyOcean01:
Hi guys, Not sure if the Spanish horror [REC] has reached your shores yet, but thought you might like this review from the UK. You've posted a few reviews from me including ones for Irreversible, The Proposition, V for Vendetta and Atonement just in case the plantist partisans get riled. Anyway, here's the review: Disaster movies, comic book movies, endless remakes. Hollywood’s dearth of imagination has left us with a stale, cyclical movie industry and in terms of the horror genre it’s once again the time of cinéma-vérité or docu-drama. Films like ‘Cloverfield’ and Romero’s ‘Diary of the Dead’ have breathed new life into the style last seen to any success in ‘The Blair Witch Project’. But with new Spanish flick [REC], they’ve upped the ante, producing something of such terrifying depths that it will leave you reeling. Directors Placo Plaza and Jaume Balaguero have made a horror masterpiece. That’s as emphatic as I can be without dribbling on into hyperbole. From the in media res opening that introduces us to news reporter Angela (Manuela Velasco) to the spine-chilling chaos that closes the film the filmmakers do a quite fantastic job of making us believe that all the events we are seeing onscreen are real. This is not even cinéma-vérité. Forget the cinema. This is film to lose yourself in completely. It is truly a horrifying experience. Unlike other films of this sub-genre the plot feels organic to the concept. This is not some faux-documentary or the best friend with a camera; it’s a familiar aspect of our lives: the News. Using that familiarity the filmmakers lull us into a false sense of security. By opening on an almost somnambulistic interview with firemen about the tedious minutiae of their profession they then start to build the tension, taking Angela, the cameraman and her entourage to a call at an elderly woman’s apartment where reports of a disturbance turns out to be something really rather nasty. And that’s when the mood shifts, and it’s reflected beautifully by the camera. It becomes our heartbeat. It becomes part of us, as it watches the strange events from afar or slammed in horrifically close, jostled by another character or jarred temporarily out of focus by an object. This coupled with a soundtrack that does away almost entirely with non-diegetic sound, and instead incorporates natural sound to create a hellish cacophony; the screech of a metal blind, the howl of distant animals, the guttural roar of the monsters, all perfectly pitched to disorientate the audience which is really the film’s main aim. It doesn’t simply frighten you, it batters you senseless with a combination of adrenaline pumping chase scenes, slow-burn tension set pieces, and some well deserved and genuine heart in the throat, boo scares (look out for the falling body and the surprise in the attic). This is not to say that the film is mere blunt instrument. This is not simply a soulless ‘ride’. Surprisingly considering the nature of this new super cinéma-vérité, there is a definite sense of characterisation or at least creative improvisation. There are even signs of them weaving a subtext into the movie. While it’s a delight to watch the wonderfully bubbly Valesco at the beginning of the movie, it’s a shock to see her whimpering in fear as things start to deteriorate. All of this brilliantly conveyed in a performance that’s belies the ’ride’ element of the film. Similarly, for such a short movie, there’s a surprising amount of substance to the story, the film paying homage to the films of Romero with its portrayal of the military as just as much a monster as the ones the group face inside the locked down apartment block. Of course with any film that builds and builds layer upon layer of tension, there are moments where the grip slips slightly, and criticism finds a hold, but in the case of this film, it’s minor. Sure, there are moments shortly before the climax where things start to feel a little bit contrived, almost videogame in its attempts to move people into certain positions; the very thing they need to escape agonisingly out of reach. Similarly, as things get completely out of hand the media’s responsibility to record events is surely superseded by the need to stay alive (drop the damn camera), but these are fairly moot when your heart is racing and you’re more involved with a film than you have been in years. In fact, with a climax that melds the final moments of ‘Silence of the Lambs’ and ‘The Blair Witch Project’, with Chris Cunningham’s worst nightmare to utterly gruesome perfection, a critic’s position becomes completely inconsequential. Watch this film. Ignore the inevitable and planned remake with its himbo and bimbo of the moment and its feeble attempts to capture even a modicum of the original’s power. Quite simply, be a part of something that makes the Masters of Horror look like mewling amateurs. If you choose to use it, call me DannyOcean01
Yeah! Fuck those Masters Of Horr... errrr... wait a minute. Just for that, you’re NOT the last review! I’m going to run one more from a UK reader, and maybe he can manage a review without making me cry!
Hello sir, [REC] opened in the UK Friday and I haven't seen any mention of it on aintitcool so I decided I'd send along my thoughts on this Spanish delight. Angela (Manuela Velasco is filming her documentary programme, 'While You're Asleep'. She follows various people who work through the night and the focus of this weeks episode is a fire crew. It starts as a quiet night in for the firemen until they get a call asking for assistance at a small apartment block. Manu (Ferran Terraza) and Alex (David Vert) are sent to check it out with Angela and her camerman Pablo in hot pursuit. When they arrive two Policemen are already at the scene and all it appears to be is a simple case of a lonely old woman in a state of confusion, until the lonely old woman takes a bite out of the senior police officer. Alex is left wrestling with the old woman while the rest of the protagonists take the injured man to the entrance only to discover that they are being sealed in by various characters in boiler suits to prevent contamination. And that's the plot. There's something in the building and the residents, the policeman, Manu, Pablo the cameraman and Angela are all trapped trying to get out. The film works excellently, Manuela Velasco is wonderful as a Spanish Lois Lane, striving to document everything and find out why the authorities outside won't tell them what's going on. The cinematography is also superb, it's a professional cameraman recording everything, he's in a warzone and the story is all that matters. This along with the use of sound amps up the tension and excitement. What I took from it is it's like a video game. You're runnning up and down this apartment block trying to find a way out. All the entrances are blocked but there is a way out, all you need are the keys from the guy who lives on the third floor. Up and down, back and forth tremendous fun. The only downside is that there's an American remake on the way and from the trailer it looks like a shot for shot remake. Why? What's the point? My main problem is that the trailer kind of ruins one of the scariest, creepiest moments in the film. Avoid it, until you've seen [REC] and then you can watch it and scream "OH NO DON'T SHOW THAT!!!!!" I've tried to write this without giving much away because I went into it knowing the very minimum, people in a building and shit has hit the fan. All the best Dominic Holmes