TIM LINCE: (Rec) 2
Starring Manuela Velasco, Ferran Terraza and Pablo Rosso. Directed by Juame Balaguero and Paco Plaza. Released May 28 2010. Certificate 18. Genre – Horror/Drama/Thriller.
My thoughts before
THE first instalment of [Rec] was the surprise horror hit of two years ago, coming from a country that’s hardly famed for providing the scariest films in the world.
Shot in a style made famous now by films such as Cloverfield and even Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant’s genius sitcom The Office, [Rec] was as scary as they come. And I mean really scary.
Not the usual modern horror scary where that means jumping out of your seat because of a loud bang or something suddenly appearing, oh no.
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And also not because of the ridiculous body count because of some kind of natural disaster, that’s of course based on what ‘could’ happen if us humans continue as we are!
It doesn’t even stretch the limits of reality too far, as although some call it a ‘zombie’ movie (with the concept of people seeming dead and then returning to life) it’s done in such a way that some kind of infection has been created.
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Many of the burning questions about this will hopefully be answered in the sequel, that I’m so excited I’ve gone and ordered the DVD from America especially.
Many of you will have seen the American remake of [Rec], named Quarantine. Starring Jennifer Carpenter, of Dexter fame, it was a shot-for-shot re-recording of the film for the English-speaking world who refuse to read subtitles.
Sadly this meant that, in my opinion, much of the original’s atmosphere was lost and there was a slight niggle I had about it for just that reason.
So for those who haven’t seen [Rec] go to HMV and buy it. It’s dead cheap now and it’s not too subtitle heavy at all (there’s less as the movie goes on).
And for those who have seen it then the sequel is finally here, apparently picking up only a few minutes after the original. The original director and writer is on board so, fingers crossed, this will be just as good…
A LESSON I have learnt from my experience of watching [REC] 2 is to never truly go in expecting one thing as, as you’ll have guessed me saying now, you normally end up disappointed.
As the ever-suspenseful climax came to an end I realised I had an understanding with the makers of this sequel – it is exactly what it needed to be.
I expected a re-hash of the first, I guess, with the same tension and brilliant build-ups to terrifying conclusions.
But it’s taken many of the best aspects of the first – the quiet build-up, the eerie mysticism of what was happening, the character’s being fairly likeable – and seemed to ditch them completely.
We begin literally right where the first movie ended, as an underdeveloped group of people all enter the house.
From some special forces, told to find out what the state inside the doomed house was and to lead a specialised medical inspector, to a group of students who get dragged along for the ride – all have cameras, all are capturing their findings, all have the character development of a lemon.
The genius of the first film is that it created a completely different kind of zombie movie, where each character was playing an integral part of some kind evil and that the viewer, through the lens of the camera that was dragged along for the ride, was part of this too. We were there from the beginning; we were surviving as they struggled too.
The final scene in the first film was, without spoiling too much, so excruciatingly gripping because we were in that moment too.
Sadly [REC] 2 takes much of that rollercoaster ride away. It’s through multiple cameras this time and many of the shocks from the first are repeated – a glimpse of a zombie, from a place previously thought empty, and then a crazy run at the camera.
But I won’t put it down too much. What [REC] 2 does too, and what is its bravest move, is that it dares to be different from the first.
The pace and structure are completely different and there’s a much greater urgency from minute one until minute 80 (it is quite short).
No minute is wasted with petty things like character development. The sweat began to rest on my brow as I realised I wasn’t going to be given a break – and in a way, perhaps, this was what it was like in the apartment building.
What gives [REC] 2 another credit to its name is that it has set up a third movie perfectly. The ending, like the first, could have cut a diamond with its raw intensity but – wow – it didn’t fail to leave jaws dropped.
I know some viewers have been annoyed by adding some kind of supernatural ‘demonic possession’ aspect of the film, and justifiably so.
The original had so many unanswered questions (much like a typical episode of Lost) but it was that which made it so scary – once it truly does become something ‘not of this world’ and unbelievable then it does lose a certain something.
But nonetheless [REC] 2 does what it could only have done – yanked the hatchet up a few notches, continued the intriguing mythology of this terrifying place and delivered a sequel that doesn’t quite taint the original.