Brain Drills and Quarantine

Ok, so I did get around to seeing Quarantine. I’ll save you some time on this review here. The big question is, of course, is it better than the original? No, it’s not. It can’t be better, because it’s exactly the same movie. 

This review will have slightly more spoilers, but it won’t be too bad, I promise. Also before we start, the American version is far shakier than the Spanish one, so if you are planning to see this one in theaters, keep this in mind. 

Seriously, all that’s different is American actors like chick from Dexter and dude from Hostel (and let’s not forget the ever famous old guy from mission impossible 2). There’s also what amounts to one extra scene, which features infected dogs, a glimpse of what’s on tv while the quarantine is taking place, and a scene where the camera man beats a zombie to death with the (still running) camera. I’m sorry if I just made that sound awesome. Seriously, it doesn’t add much in terms of awesomeness… and it actually ends up removing tension towards the end of the film.

 The fact that there are so few differences first makes you ask “what’s the point?”. Outside of the cynical “for the money, of course” and “because American audiences are dumb” answers, there isn’t really a satisfying response.

But when there are so few differences, it does call attention to the differences that are there. When you see two different versions of the same film (ie, not a remake, but an extended cut or some such thing), it’s natural to compare them on the basis of the changed/extra scenes. Here we have one extra sequence where a couple more characters die, and an extra shot in the surgery scene. Yeah, it has a scene where the doctors decide they need to drill into a dude’s skull to extract a brain sample. Let me point out that I have no problem with brain drilling. In fact, I wish I saw more of it both in film and in my day to day life, but is this all the American filmmakers wanted to add? Brain drilling? I mean, if you DO have the balls to remake a foreign film a year after it’s original release, shouldn’t you maybe mix it up a bit and make it your own? 

I’d rather they changed it, for better or for worse. I wish they tried something different and ambitious, even if it failed completely. I wish they had SOME amount of creativity with it. Perhaps the director (John Erick Dowdle, by the way… that guy who did The Poughkeepsie Tapes) had SO much faith in the original that he didn’t feel the need to change much… Or maybe he’s completely out of ideas

I recommend this if you’re a huge Jennifer Carpenter fan (hey, it could happen), or if you physically cannot read subtitles. Otherwise, there’s really no point in seeing both films… and you may as well stick with the original, it handles some of the scares better than the American one anyway. 

Preview tease for next monday : Watch as I attempt to understand what all those true blood fans are so crazy about!


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October 2008
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