Bottom Line (even though it’s on top): REC is the better one.
Even though I’m clearly not up on my Spain celebrity knowledge there was way too many recognizable actors in Quarantine and with these type of movies (Blair witch, clover field) it’s supposed to give a sense of realism by allowing you to believe that you’re watching raw footage of an unexplainable event. Even if you discount Dania Ramirez, who probably was not a well known actress at the time of the movie’s release and didn’t really become super popular until her run on Entourage, there are still other actors that people will recognize especially if you’re a horror movie fan. First and foremost the main character is played by the actress who plays Debbie Morgan from Dexter. Clearly, a lot of horror movie fans will recognize her so epic fail right there. Also, the main fire fighter was also the main character in Hostel. He was also in Friday Night Lights which is on my personal list for all-time favorite movies. I read a review where it was mentioned that another of the main actors was from Ally McBeal although I’ve never seen that show. According to IMDB the directors of REC purposely chose actors that were not well known. So because of the recognizable actors in Q that sense of realism is lost from the get go where as in REC it really does feel like you are watching raw footage of a reality show similar to Cops.
Something should also be mentioned about the pacing of REC. What I loved is the development of the story. Within such chaotic discussions of trying to make sense of WTF is going on subtle lines from different actors seem minute when you first hear it but eventually it all adds up together. Maybe it’s because I saw Q so late at night or maybe not but something about the flow of the movie just didn’t feel right. Q is 12 minutes longer with the extra scenes they added. It was interesting to see more depth to the story along with more gore scenes but in my opinion it was overkill for both situations. REC was perfect in its pacing and storytelling. There were more characters in Q I guess to make for a higher body count but that also means less character development so when they die or turn to well you know (I don’t want to give anything away) you don’t even care.
Everything else just seems better overall in REC. Acting, directing, and even shot by shot comparison. I kept being disappointed while watching Quarantine because the shots used were just weaker even though they are really similar. REC was just grittier.