Remake vs. Original: Quarantine vs. [rec]

Welcome back to Remake vs. Original, wherein Hollywood must answer to my poison pen for their incessant remakes! I bring you:

 versus  !

Round One! The basics

[rec], Spain, 2007. Written by Jaume Balagueró, Luis Berdejo and Paco Plaza. Directed by Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza. 78 minutes. (original review here.)

Quarantine, USA, 2008. Written by John Erick Dowdle and Drew Dowdle. Directed by John Erick Dowdle. 89 minutes.

Title:

[rec]: I like titles with random punctuation. I also like titles that create uncertainty as to whether you’re actually referring to a movie when you mention it. “What do you mean, Pi? Pi-what?” +1

Quarantine: imdb gives 4 results to a search with this title. Snoozeville! -1

Country:

Not to be a traitor to my homeland, but Spain did *just* win the World Cup. [rec]: +1

Year:

2007 was an okay year for me. Maybe? I can’t actually remember anything that happened. -1

2008 was pretty good. I got engaged, so that’s cool. I remember it a little better than 2007 because it’s slightly closer to now. +1

 Writers/ Directors:

I haven’t seen anything else any of the people involved in these films have done. So, given that the [rec] writers and director came up with the very clever premise and the team on Quarantine merely copied it, this one clearly goes to [rec]. +1

Film length:

[rec] is a magical 78 minutes! I didn’t have one damned spare second to get bored! +1

At 89 minutes, I got a little bored with Quarantine. Make fun of my short attention span if you will, but allow me to say that when it’s Robert Altman or Apocalypse Now we’re talking about, I can watch a movie all damned day. Neither of these movies is Apocalypse Now. -1

Round One goes to…Original!

Round Two: cast recognizability

I don’t know any of these people…and I love it! The unfamiliarity of the cast  allows for full immersion in their ordeal, leaving the audience to feel that we really have stumbled on the footage of a terrible crisis happening to people we’ve never met. +1

Well hey, Deb from Dexter! What are you doing with Paxton from Hostel and Richard from Ally McBeal?! It’s so cute that you guys are all together, fightin’ zombies! Familiar genre face Jonathan Schaech is also in the remake, but he gets his own round in a minute, so we’ll leave him for now. The cast recognizability creates a challenge in suspending our disbelief of the terrors onscreen. -1

Round Two goes to…Original!

Round Three: the heroine

Ángela Vidal is spunky, friendly, and adept at shooting hoops with the boys. Plus, once the shit hits the fan, Ángela remains dedicated to documenting the government cover up of the ensuing horrific events. +1

Angela (no accent) Vidal has all of the above qualities, plus she loses her shit slightly less epically once zombies attack. Also she has no problem challenging the boy’s club of the fire station, a quality I very much admire. +2

Round Three goes to…Remake!

 Okay, this is where it gets tricky. The remaining competition points (the monsters, the scares, the plot, the cinematography, etc) are moot, because in these areas, the films are virtually IDENTICAL. Shot for shot. Perfect reflections of one another.

I could do this all day!

So let’s just give a +4 to [rec] for doing it all first and move on.

Round Four goes to…Original!

Round Five: Jonathan Schaech’s ‘stache

[rec] does not have Jonathan Schaech’s tremendous mustache. -1

Quarantine DOES have Jonathan Schaech’s tremendous mustache. +1

Round Five goes to…Remake!

 Round Six: miscellaneous

[rec] never gives the prisoners of the quarantined apartment a good look at the policemen surrounding the building, backlit as they are by searchlights and camera crews. The windows are constantly flooded with light and silhouettes, creating an eerie, trapped-in-a-fishbowl effect that I found very compelling. [rec] also never shows us Pablo, the cameraman, allowing us to care about him through only the power of his voice. +1

Quarantine is constantly giving us a glimpse of the threat outside, taking away from the ominous mystery of it all.  Quarantine also instantly dumbs down [rec]’s premise by showing us the cameraman Scott right off the bat. -1

Also, it must be said, for the sake of JOURNALISTIC  TRUTH, that both movies feature hot firemen, a factor that I truly appreciate. square

Round Six goes to…Original!

In conclusion, the battle of Remake vs. Original: Quarantine vs. [rec] goes to…

ORIGINAL!

*cheers applause crowd goes wild*

Quarantine actually is a solid horror movie. But there is simply no need for it to exist! [rec] is beautifully made and acted with a satisfactory budget AND it’s easily accessible through Netflix! Why are American audiences so scared of subtitles? A first-rate movie does NOT need to be identically replicated just so the dialogue can be in English! *headdesk*

There you have it, folks! Until next time.

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3 Responses to “Remake vs. Original: Quarantine vs. [rec]”

  1. Excellent recap!

    I hate shot-for-shot remakes. I loathe them. In actuality, they may be the thing I hate most in the world. WHAT IS THE POINT.

  2. i know this is a random rant BUT i just want to say that i’m really glad this movie cast angela vidal from dexter rather than jennifer carpenter. because seriously, if i was a serial killer, and she was my sister, she would’ve been STABBED TO DEATH A THOUSAND YEARS AGO.

    anyway, um… yeah. please return to yr normally scheduled horror movie watching.

  3. I think I liked [rec] better than Quarantine. I think especially because I knew a lot of the actors in Quarantine, as you mentioned. It just made [rec] more realistic. I will say that some of the scarier moments in Q were a little scarier. As far as the leading ladies go, I’m definitely fonder of the Spaniard. She is really cute and I’ve never really found JennCarp particularly attractive. Cool (sometimes), and we’ll handled but she’s just too much of a dude. Much like deb.

    Once again, the original film wins.

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