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[REC]2 (2009)

July 10, 2010

 

written by: Jaume Balagueró, Manu Díez, and Paco Plaza
produced by: Julio Fernández
directed by: Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza
rated: rated R (for strong bloody violence, disturbing images and pervasive language)
runtime: 85 mins
U.S. release date: July 9, 2010 (limited)


In a continuation of 2007’s “[REC]”, Spanish directorial duo Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza kick off the action right where they left off.  There is a serious problem in the quarantined apartment building in Barcelona – the setting of the original film.  All those who were inside the building are now infected with a terrible “disease”.  The allure of [REC] was the documentary-style shock-horror qualities on a seemingly low budget.  It kept an amazingly high level of suspense, while using the cinematography to present just enough of a visual to let the viewers’ imagination create the true horror.  [REC]2 had a lot to live up to after the impeccable execution and cult success of the first film, so does the second hold up?

A major outbreak has infected everyone who was inside a Barcelona apartment building, and a SWAT team must escort a health inspector through the building to assess the damage.  There is still one main cameraman following the group, just like in the first “[REC]” film, but there is a new visual element added, each SWAT team member has a helmet cam that can be accessed at any time so we can see exactly what they’re seeing (this makes for some great squirmy moments later!).  All these men approach the quarantined building knowing that it is filled with “infected people”, but not quite aware of the horrors they are about to face.

 

rec2crew

 

Counting five men upon their entry, things go South for the group within only a few minutes.  The group is mobbed by frantic, flesh-hungry, super-aggressive “people”, while others in their party may not be exactly what they seem.  In addition to these problems, which proved to be more than enough, some adventurous teens are trying to make their way into the building to see what is going on.  All these distractions split the team up at times, and prove to be a great way to use the helmet cams and creep the audience out even more!

I’m going to shy away from saying anymore about the plot of this film, because the less you know going in, the better.

Just to give you a little context, I saw both of these films back-to-back in a theater, so there were some immediate impressions of “[REC]2” based on having just seen the original.  In the first few minutes, I noticed the attention to continuity as far as the set design.  Two full years separated the release of these two films (I can’t confirm if they were shot at the same time or not), and everything looked exactly like it did in the first film — and that’s saying a lot if you’ve seen the final few scenes of the original.  You can tell the filmmakers had a little more money to work with, but didn’t use it to over-stylize the visuals, which is a good thing because it would really have tanked the believability level.

 

rec2tenants

 

For what seems like a cliche zombie film at first, [REC]2 proves to be so much more with clear filmmaking acumen and excellent cinematography.  With such basic set pieces, lighting, and special effects, the filmmakers piece together an extremely suspenseful and unbelievably fun experience at the movies.  This goes to show that imagination and a clear story often goes so much further than a marketable name and a ton of money, in terms of actually being entertained.

 

If you’ve seen the trailer and you are considering seeing “[REC]2”, you absolutely must see [REC] first (you can get it on Netflix).  Together, these two films make for a terrifying journey that will make your head dart from side to side when you’re walking around in the dark.  When it comes to the horror genre, “[REC]2” is the complete package, showcasing a solid story, great special effects, and tons of build-up that leads to some really great scary scenes.  If this is playing in your town, definitely run out to see it — after seeing “[REC]”, of course.

RATING: ***1/2

 

rec2girl

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