Over the last couple of years there has been one horror film that really got to me and made a deep impact and that was the Spanish horror film Rec. Rec is a film done in a similar style as Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity in that it takes footage shot from the first person (or at least footage filmed ‘live’ by the characters) and makes the film about that footage. The movie works, as the best of this style of film does, in that it puts you into the middle of the terror. This style can be a gimmick or a new way to tell the story, and, as with another similar film, Cloverfield, this makes that footage part of the experience. We are seeing something we shouldn’t, we don’t want to see. We are witnesses to dark things that dwell only in the mists of nightmares. Rec 2 manages to take the ideas and story of the first film and really amplify them because, now that you know what you have, it’s the realization of what it is that makes it so terrifying.
Rec 2 begins almost exactly where the first film ends, this time following a Spanish version of a SWAT team as they gear up and prepare to enter the quarantined apartment building. As soon as the men arrive and enter the building with a doctor they begin to realize the greater lie that they are working under, as the doctor tells them they may remove their breathing apparatus and that it is safe to breathe the air. The virus travels via blood and saliva, they are told, as they look upon a first floor soaked in blood and a pair of bloody handcuffs that are still attached to the railing of the stairs. The men are told they must make it to the penthouse of the building to gather data, and as they go they are surprised at how there are no people or bodies in sight. Something is going on, and the higher they go, the deeper their dread sinks. What they find is that they are far from alone in the building, and this only heightens when they realize that several people have also snuck into the building with their own video equipment and the two factions must work together if they are going to escape the horrors that hide in the darkness, waiting for them.
Not quite as good as the first film, this is a very strong sequel and entry into what appears to be a franchise. The acting is solid, the first person filming is as gripping as ever and, yeesh, the horror is immense. It’s a shame that the American remake clung so tightly to the original until it came to the reason everything was happening. It was as if they missed the point of the horror, and the point of the whole movie. REC 2 gets what it is, and knows what it is, and gives you exactly that. Every question I had was answered and then some and enough new questions remained to warrant a third if the talk is true that in 2011 we shall actually get another one. Bloody, scary, and as gripping a horror film as you are apt to see this year or most any other year, I cannot recommend this highly enough. The ending isn’t as strong as the first for a few reasons but overall the whole is pretty amazing.
7.5 out of 10