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.

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.

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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.

Top 10 Found Footage Horror Film

Review by Daniel StephensSee all reviews

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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About the Author
Editor of Top 10 Films, Dan Stephens is usually found pondering his next list. An unhealthy love of 1980s Hollywood sees most of his top 10s involving a time-travelling DeLorean and an adventurous archaeologist going by the name Indiana.

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  1. Avatar
    Rodney Reply

    I loved the first REC, and from the sounds of it, I might just feel the same about the sequel. Good review, Dan!

  2. Avatar
    Scott Reply

    I recently watched both of the films back to back and it was an amazing and scary evening.

    I preferred when we knew less about the virus. But this is still a greta film.

    Bring on the 3rd and 4th Did you see the trailer?

  3. Avatar
    Dan Reply

    @Scott: Yeah, I saw the trailer. Not sure about the change of location but it could still be worth seeing.

  4. Avatar
    Eric Reply

    I wasn’t sure what to make of this movie’s new religious direction at first, but it ended up working surprisingly well. I still prefer the first one, but it will be interesting to see where it goes from here. I need to check out [REC] 3’s trailer.

  5. Avatar
    Film-Book dot Com Reply

    Great follow-up but the ending was a tad weak. The first film certainly ended stronger than this film. Looking forward to part 3. The REC series and The Walking Dead are my current zombie highlights for the last few years.

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