While covering the night shift at a small-town fire department, an ambitious young television reporter and her cameraman follow the crew on a call to rescue an elderly woman trapped in her apartment. Upon their arrival at the scene, the calm midnight air is pierced by the sound of horrific screams and the television report takes an unexpectedly dark turn.
This is the original Spanish horror movie that Quarantine is based upon and the scenes are almost exactly alike that itís all so tempting to just cut and paste (with a slight modification) the review from Quarantine for [REC]. But for the sake of Moviexclusive professionalism, this review wonít take the easy way out and will take the effort to compare and contrast these two movies.
One of the better moments in [REC] would be that the cameraman did not overly shake the camera during the filming of the television program. A small detail for the casual viewers but the steady shots help make the cameraman look credible. At least there will be shots here that could be used in the editing process for the Television program that they are making as compared to the overly shaken camera work in Quarantine that occurs even during the peaceful moments.
The next notable aspect of [REC] (and subject to personal preference so this is coming from the reviewer) would be that the TV host / female protagonist here is way hotter than the remake version. It makes the male viewerís attention focused on the screen and rooting for her survival in this apartment constrained with the outbreak of deadly proportion.
The third advantage that [Rec] had over the remade version would be that the entire cast was made up of relatively unknown actors (or at least to most Singaporean viewers). Unlike in Quarantine, Ally McBealís Richard Fish (Greg Germann) appearance as the resident doctor kinda spoils the believability issue of the film. It might be a small aspect to note but it helps to paint a horrific ideology of ordinary common folks getting attacked by strange circumstances could happen to you and me. With a group of unknown cast, it helps to make it more relatable for the viewers to the horror that transpire on the screen.
However, this reviewer must also dutifully mention that there are moments when the remake excels over this original piece of horror film.
Some of the fright moments in [REC] were a slight tempo slower. To the trained eyes, it revealed that some of the victims could have react to the sudden captive by the infected. Itís just a fraction of a second but it just made it felt like the actor had to stay put due to the script requirement. It wasnít that great to build the horror credibility in this movie.
The cinematography of the berserk encounters with the infected in [REC] lacks that certain kinetic and spontaneous pulse that Quarantine had. Even the unscripted and unexpected fall of a civil servant that took the cast by surprise felt rather tame and the fault lies with how that scene was shot.
Differences aside, both films share a common weakness and thatís lack of a truly scary idea that will haunts the audience beyond the screen time. It had some genuine fright moments but it basically operates like the arcade shooter game ďHouse of the DeadĒ where viewers are taken from unexpected entrapment (point A), treated to a horrific scenario and lead to a revelation finale (point B), except all the viewers didnít have to shoot the zombies (or other gruesome creatures).
This Code 3
DVD comes with the theatrical trailer and a photo gallery.
The visual and audio quality presented here are as fine as the TV program that the unlucky crew was trying to record for their TV station. This DVD version comes with English audio option for those who are too lazy to read the subtitles but the English audio track sound pretty unnatural for this Spanish production.
Review by Richard Lim Jr