Sony declined to screen Quarantine for the press before opening it across Canada today, which means I'll be catching it with everybody else at its first commercial screening this afternoon.
This also means I'm at a slight disadvantage for this week's column, which was going to be about the new American trend of remaking obscure foreign horror movies and unleashing them on a presumably unsuspecting population.
Quarantine, you see, is based on a Spanish movie called [REC], which purports to be raw footage shot by a television crew that follows a pair of firefighters on a routine emergency call to a Barcelona apartment building that turns into ... well, let's just say the emergency they find is anything but routine.
From the evidence in the trailer, the filmmakers have gone to considerable lengths to make the remake look (and sound) as much like the original as possible. (See below for both trailers.)
It seems like old hat after all those Asian horror adaptations - the Ring films, the Grudge films, Shutter, The Eye; you know 'em, and most of them have been disappointing. But Quarantine ... I dunno. I'm really hoping it works.
As shot-for-shot remakes go, it certainly has more of a chance of working than Gus Van Sant's infamous Psycho, or Michael Haneke's revisitation of his own Funny Games earlier this year: Van Sant wasn't actually as faithful to his source material as he would have had us believe, and Haneke's film was too cerebral for its own good the first time around.
But [REC] is a simple, unpretentious and entirely terrific movie - imagine all the tension and frenzy of Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later crammed into a single overcrowded location - with a concept simple enough that it can be repurposed to pretty much any location in the world.