Review: REC 2
REC 2 continues the handheld camera thrills of the hugely entertaining original film as a group of well-armed policemen enter the building to try and contain the situation.
Directed by: Jaume Balagueró, Paco Plaza
Written by: Jaume Balagueró, Paco Plaza, Manu Díez
Starring: Jonathan Mellor, Óscar Sánchez Zafra, Ariel Casas
Released: 2009 / Genre: Horror / Country: Spain / IMDB
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REC was the brilliant found-footage horror film from writer-directors Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza. The film followed a TV news crew as they filmed the local fire station’s night shift. Receiving a call that an old woman is trapped in her apartment building, the fire crew along with news reporter Ángela Vidal (Manuela Velasco) and her cameraman head to the scene. Police officers have already arrived and proceed to break down the door to the old woman’s apartment. They find the woman but she appears violently aggressive, biting a policeman. The residents of the building, hearing the commotion, gather as the fire fighters try to contain the situation, sealing the building for fear of a biological contamination. Everyone left inside is now trapped and it appears the old woman isn’t the only one about to turn nasty.
REC, filmed in faux-documentary style, was a critical and popular hit thanks to its well-constructed scares and its stylish use of handheld photography that stirred the senses with claustrophobic misdirection and paranoid unease. REC 2 picks up the story where the first film finished, and thanks to both Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza’s involvement once again as writer-directors of the film, the sequel contains all the elements that made their first effort so thrilling.
A police unit is sent to the sealed-off building to escort Ministry of Health official Dr. Owen on a fact-finding mission. But once inside, they make contact with one of the infected people and Dr. Owen begins chanting religious prose instead of treating the person through medical means. It becomes apparent that Dr. Owen is actually a priest and that they are not dealing with a biohazard at all but a case of spiritual possession.
REC 2 is a hugely entertaining horror film in the mould of The Blair Witch Project. The use of head-mounted cameras on the police unit’s helmets adds to the scope of the film, with Balagueró and Plaza making particularly good use of this to create a sense of desolation. They also make great use of the main camera’s night vision function, not only in its ability to unsettle through its indistinct picture quality but also as a wonderfully ingenious sub-plot.
A bigger budget and increased scope has not hampered writer-director team Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza with REC 2. The film proves itself just as effective and as harrowing as its predecessor.
Review by Daniel Stephens – See all reviews
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