I should preface this by saying that I am a HUGE fan of the recent movement in Spanish language horror films. Never have I been more impressed with the glut of talent that has come out of that community. So six months ago, when I finally got a chance to see [REC], I was thrilled! It completely lived up to my expectations and was a truly terrifying flick. Needless to say that when I hear about the sequel, I was incredibly excited. So, last night I got the opportunity to check it out. I settled in, turned out the lights and immediately regretted that decision.
[REC] 2 takes place less than an hour after the closing moments of the first film. This go around, the first person camera technique is employed with use of helmet cams belonging to SWAT team members that are called to enter the quarantined apartment complex. Accompanying the team is a minister from the health department who, in the first 15 minutes, is revealed to be something else entirely.
Up until the health ministers reveal, the film plays out like its predecessor and I thought that this was going to be a very amped up version of that. Boy was I wrong. The film takes the mythology established in the first film and really turns it on its head.I don’t want to say much here but the themes of the church hinted at in the first film are fully realized here.
Everything about this film is bigger. The action is fast and intense, the infected are brutal and the scares are plentiful. For the first time in a long time, I was absolutely terrified by this film. At no point are cheap jump scares employed either. Much like the first film, the majority of the scares come out of atmosphere and exploitation of the shooting style. The film is tight, fast and frantic nearly from start to finish. This is where the films main problem lies.
In the first film, the opening 30 minutes of the film are spent getting to know the tv crew and the fire fighters. When each of them meets their demise, you genuinely feel for them. The same cannot be said of [REC] 2. The audience is thrown into the action head on and as people start dropping like flies, it doesn’t really matter much. Also, the inclusion of several teenage characters really hurt the film. The acting by these characters is truly awful and it feels like they were written in purely to add another camera point of view.
The film throws several curve balls and brings several elements from the first film into the mix that were completely unexpected. Again, I don’t want to give much away but when these elements were introduced I literally said “Holy Shit”. Its powerful stuff.
All in all, the film excels at almost every point. It surpasses the bar set by the original and keeps the audience guessing until the very end. [REC] 3 has already been announced and if they can keep this idea fresh and moving, I would gladly welcome many more entries into the series. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to drink another pot of coffee…I’m still not ready to sleep after seeing this.