Review: “[REC] 2”

July 23, 2010 at 9:30 am Leave a comment

Back in 2007, a small, low-budget Spanish horror film made waves by combining the “found film” genre and the sensibilities of Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later.  Titled [REC], named after the abbreviation of the word ‘record’ on most cameras, the film was popular enough to warrant an American remake a year later, called Quarantine (which wasn’t a bad flick by itself, and could be considered a faithful shot-for-shot remake).  The directors of the original, Jaume Balaguero and Paco Plaza, come back with the sequel, featuring more action, crazed zombie/infected people, and way more creepiness.

[REC] 2 starts almost concurrently with the final few minutes of the original, with a team of S.W.A.T.-type police officers preparing to escort a doctor into the sealed-off apartment building that is the setting of what appears to be a biological disaster.  The residents of the building became sick with an unknown disease, and a TV camera crew got trapped inside along with a handful of police officers and firemen.  Things didn’t end well for them and now the local government is sending the big guns: heavily armed police and a doctor who just might be able to solve the crisis.

As usual, firearms aren’t enough to calm the police, lead by Oscar Zafra, as they soon realize they’re up against something beyond what they’ve trained for.  The doctor (Jonthan Mellor) is also not who he seems to be, and it is quickly revealed that he’s not Dr. Owen, but Father Owen, a Roman Catholic priest.  The virus spreading throughout the building could very well be demonic in nature and the Catholic Church wants a sample of blood to analyze and to create a vaccine from.  The blood needs to come from a ‘patient zero’, a girl whom the Church believed to be possessed, and who’s blood carried the infection that allows those bitten to become possessed themselves.

Just like the original, [REC] 2 is tightly paced, with very little downtime, except when we are introduced to a second set of characters: a bunch of curious kids who sneak into the building along with a fireman and the husband of one of the characters from the first movie.  The movie plays a lot like most modern ‘survive horror’ videogames like “Left 4 Dead” and “F.E.A.R.”, with moments of intense action breaking up stretches of suspense and downright creepiness.  If our heroes get an upgrade in more firepower, then the ‘zombies’ in this flick get new abilities as well: some can climb walls, others seem almost impervious to bullets (a shot to the head is still enough to take one down, though).

Everything in this movie is a logical advancement of what was featured in the original.  For those that have only seen Quarantine, you shouldn’t be too lost, as the only real difference is the backstory (the American version was about a virus created by some doomsday cult, here it’s a little more supernatural).  The best way to describe this movie is that it’s a mix of 28 Days Later and The Exorcist, and fans of both films will have a good time with [REC] 2.

8/10

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