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[Rec] 2 (A Movie Review)

Updated: May 1

[REC] 2 (2009)

Starring Jonathan Mellor, Oscar Sanchez Zafra, Ariel Cassas, Alejandro Casaseca, Pablo Rosso, Manuela Velasco, Andrea Ros, Alex Batllori, Pep Molina, Juli Fabregas, Javier Botet and Pau Poch.

Screenplay by Jaume Balagueró, Manu Díez & Paco Plaza.

Directed by Jaume Balagueró & Paco Plaza.

Distributed by Magnet Releasing. 84 minutes. Rated R.

This Spanish horror film is the sequel to a surprisingly popular low budget scare-fest.

The [Rec] movies (the title refers to the record light on a video camera) are a mash-up of a few different horror styles. As the titles suggest, they are supposed to be actual events filmed completely with video cameras – much like The Blair Witch Project. They also have zombie-like creatures (though they are not supposed to be actual zombies) roaming darkened rooms and hallways like a European Night of the Living Dead. We also add a priest trying to ward off demons, sprinkling a little holy water and a lot of Exorcist memories all over the proceedings.

I have to admit I never saw the original [Rec] or its American remake Quarantine, so I can’t really say if the first movie is as convoluted as its sequel is.

However, if the story is a little over-busy (and it most certainly is), the film does often succeed in sustaining a sense of fear and dread through many of the sections of the over-complex narrative.

It probably doesn’t help that the narrative several times flits back and forth in time and changes main characters to show the story through different perspectives. The Rashomon approach to filmmaking might be a little too complex for what is essentially an arty indie zombie movie. After all, beyond all the bells and whistles, this is basically the story of undead creatures jumping out of the darkness trying to kill small groups of trapped people.

It all takes place in an old Barcelona tenement apartment building. Something evil has escaped into the building and is infecting all that comes in its path, turning them into slavering, aggressive killers (it is described in the movie as being more akin to rabies than actual zombie-ism, but the effects are essentially the same.)

Most of the residents of the building have been either killed or turned, when a few groups of people make their way into the building (which has been quarantined and locked down by Barcelona officials) and try to survive the carnage.

The storyline essentially spends the first 45 minutes with the first group, a priest and three firemen who have been sent into the house to find the cause of the outbreak, which seems to be in the penthouse apartment of another priest who had been trying to exorcise an evil little girl.

Then the plot doubles back to three teenaged thrill seekers who figure it would be an adventure breaking into the forbidden building, where they run into a cop and a resident, and they all discover how much of an adventure it really will be.

And finally, there is the TV news crew which tried to capture an exclusive story and instead captured themselves.

The different characters are all occasionally glimpsed through the earlier phases of the script and eventually it all runs all of them together into a final stand against the evil creatures surrounding them.

As is usually the case with films that are supposed to be done with hand-held camera, the movie trades off between the immediacy of real life and the confusion of same. Between the dark and the shaky cameras, you are often trying hard to figure out exactly what is happening.

Still, for its type of movie, [Rec] 2 is quite well done. I’m not big into zombie movies, but I was mostly entertained.

Dave Strohler

Copyright ©2011 All rights reserved. Posted: July 12, 2011.


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