What happens when you reproduce films, shot-for shot? You get failures like Psycho (1998) and, in this case “Quarantine” which is a remake of the Spanish film REC. “Quarantine” stars Jennifer Carpenter of “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” and “Dexter” fame, Steve Harris, Jay Hernandez, and Johnathan Schaech.
Set in present day, “Quarantine” follows news reporter Angela Vidal (Carpenter) and her cameraman Scott (Harris) as they shadow some firefighters one late night. When the firehouse gets a call to an apartment building, they thrown for a loop- one of the tenants has been infected with a rabies-like virus. The evening becomes a fight for survival as one by one the firefighters, cops, and tenants are bitten, thus becoming infected. Meanwhile, Angela and Scott get all the footage on tape, therefore making this film another example of the “found footage” genre. A small subplot explores the possibility of this virus being a government experiment.
You would think after Carpenter’s performance in “The Exorcism of Emily Rose,” this would be a shoe in for her. However, just like everyone else in this movie her performance was wooden. I was very aware I was watching a movie, which is usually a death sentence with these found footage films. Everything looks rehearsed instead of spontaneous and natural. The only things that looked natural was Angela’s flirtation with fireman Jake (Hernandez), and the fear in Officer Danny (played by Columbus Short).
Being a fan of REC (2007), I was excited to see this film. What I didn’t count on was a complete rip off of the film, except for a better camera. In a way, it felt like the filmmakers were trying to replicate a work of art. “Quarantine” had a great storyline, but it was unnecessary to copy it verbatim. Maybe that’s why everything looked rehearsed. Perhaps the performers were trying to live up to the original actors. You know what they say, imitation is a form of flattery.
Overall, I was disappointed with this remake because I was such a fan of the original. Those of you who enjoyed it, do yourself a favor and rent REC. You can photograph the Mona Lisa, but you can’t replicate it.