When a news crew decides to trail a brave fire-fighting team, they never suspect that the first call for help they respond to that night may be their last. Now they're trapped in an apartment complex sealed off by the government. With no way of escape, they find themselves surrounded by frightened residents who are infected with a deadly mutant virus. What happens next is only known because of the footage they left behind.
We all know how remakes (especially those by Hollywood with their big budgets and star studded cast0 often get slammed by critics. And we all know how these remakes are often made with the intention to milk money from unknowing viewers who buy tickets to kill time on a boring Saturday night. Yes, this group of people already know that the remakes will never beat the original (that is, if they have watched the original version). Yes, this same group of people will be the ones complaining when the house lights come on. And yes, this same group of people will also be the ones telling others not to pay to watch remakes.
So why do still get remakes every now and then?
While this mystery remains unsolved, this reviewer was given the task to watch this remake on DVD, having watched the original Spanish version [.REC] in the theatres a few months ago. So there he was, with certain shocking scenes from the Jaume Balaguero and Paco Plaza directed movie still fresh in his mind, watching the DVD in the dark (he thought this would make things a little scarier, given that he already knows what will happen eventually in the movie).
To make things a little more interesting, he managed to convince two (!) female companions to watch the DVD with him. And there they were, screaming and jolting and every single “boo in your face’ scene, while the host proudly thinks to himself: “This American version isn’t going to scare me like the Spanish version because I am well prepared for the ending.”
Blame it on the rather loud sound system he has equipped in the living room, but when the 89 minute movie reaches its last quarter, this reviewer began to feel a little chilly. Why? Is it because he is worried that the movie’s protagonists, a television reporter and her cameraman, who are trapped inside a building quarantined, may be cruelly dispatched by the zombies? Is it because the whole idea of an outbreak of a mysterious virus which turns humans into bloodthirsty killers suddenly seems so real? Or is he afraid that when the lights come on after the movie, his movie companions (who have never watched the original Spanish version) will never forgive him for the trauma they went through?
Director John Erick Dowdle has managed to capture the spirit of the original version, with some very polished production values, of course. In terms of originality, this movie doesn’t score very high like the tons of other remakes out there. But truth be told, it did give this reviewer a shocking jolt when the movie came to a disturbing end, despite him knowing that the moment will come. Shucks, this isn’t very good for the male ego, isn’t it?
SPECIAL FEATURES :
This Code 3 DVD contains a surprisingly generous amount of bonus features which are well worth your time, that is, if you like the movie.
First up, there is a Commentary with Writer/ Director John Erick Dowdle and Writer/ Producer Drew Dowdle. These two fast talking guys engage you with their convincing explanations of the movie’s quick editing and shaky camera work. Locked In: The Making of Quarantine is a 10 minute clip which the filmmakers telling you that the situation in the film can actually happen in real life – are they trying to scare us further? Dressing the Infected: Robert Hall’s Make-up Session takes you behind the scenes to see how those f-ugly things are created in the movie. In its seven minute runtime, you’d get to see some really disturbing make-up effects. In Anatomy of a Stunt, we get three minutes of stuntmen tied to ropes and hanging from high ceilings to create those shocking moments in the movie. Trailers of other Sony titles like Lakeview Terrace and Underworld: Rise of the Lycans are also included on the disc.
The disc’s visual transfer is effectively raw, while there are 5.1 Dolby English, Spanish and Thai audio tracks to choose from. When it comes to screaming and shrieking, there isn’t really much of a difference here.
by Gabriel Chong