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Overall Rating

Awesome: 25%
Worth A Look: 29.17%
Pretty Bad: 8.33%
Total Crap: 4.17%

3 reviews, 6 user ratings

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[Rec] 2
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by Jay Seaver

"A sequel with a few new twists."
4 stars

SCREENED AT THE 2010 FANTASIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: First-person horror has prove tricky to make sequels to, which surely must drive the studios nuts. The found-footage nature generally means all the characters are dead, which means the main element to carry over is the camera gimmick, and every original way to apply that went into the first film. Well, unless you are Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza, who prove to have a trick or two up their sleeves.

[REC] 2 picks up exactly where the first left off (you know, the final scene that wound up in the trailer of the American remake), as a team of Barcelona SWAT police - Chief (Oscar Zafra), Larra (Ariel Casas), Martos (Alejandro Casaseca), and camera tech Rosso (Pablo Rosso) prepare to escort Ministry of Health agent Dr. Owen (Jonathan Mellor) into the hot zone. Soon, though, it's clear that Owen knows much more about what's in that building than he should, including the contents of the room from which the plague spread. Meanwhile, the quarantine isn't proving as effective as one might hope - a firefighter (Juli Fàbregas), the father of one of the residents trapped inside (Pep Molina), and three teenagers (Andrea Ros, Alex Batllori, and Pau Poch), with a camera of their own, have snuck in.

[REC] actually set itself up for a continuation a lot better than most horror movies. It spent its last act establishing a clever rationale for its zombie-like creatures, which [REC] 2 picks up on without skipping a beat. It's a much more interesting backstory than is the norm for the genre, giving the characters motivation other than just survival. Admittedly, the segment with the kids does seem a little disposable, there to jack up the body count and separate a few events, but it does do those things, keeping the movie on the right rhythm.

It also give the directors a chance to play with their gimmick - doing a first-person sequel to a first-person movie could have easily had a "been there, done that" feel to it, so they find ways to mix it up: The movie's three acts each follows a different point of view (literally!), and the first features insets and cutaways to the individual button cameras worn by each member of the SWAT team. It's a clever way to freshen up the technique while staying true to the original, and Balagueró & Plaza make sure not to abuse this new freedom, lest the film start feeling like a conventionally shot and edited production.

Of course, something that's very hard to replicate the second time around is the scares, and [REC] 2 has some issues there. We know a bit more, and the characters are much further away from defenseless this time around, at least in the SWAT segment. Some of their scenes look like they came from a horror-themed shooter game, which may be an intentional homage, but reduces scary things to something familiar. The movie is not completely without scares, though - it manages a few jumps and some decent suspense. The last act is also pretty clever; the filmmakers opt to take the word "occult" literally, giving the movie a finale that is not only suspenseful, but is uniquely suited to the first-person form.

"[REC]" was a darn good horror movie, although its found-footage conceit was already looking a bit worn, even if it made the device work better than most other examples. "[REC] 2" might be a smidge or two less scary, but it breathes new life into the form, despite those apparent limitations.

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originally posted: 07/25/10 15:21:27
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2009 Toronto International Film Festival For more in the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: Fantastic Fest 2009 For more in the Fantastic Fest 2009 series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2009 Venice International Film Festival For more in the 2009 Venice International Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2010 Fantasia International Film Festival For more in the 2010 Fantasia International Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

5/05/13 Marty Like the new direction but acting/writing worse than the 1st. plot pretty bare here. 3 stars
3/11/12 Josie Cotton is a goddess Yep 2 stars
11/15/11 matthew thompson dalldorf For every scary moment, there are at least 4 scenes of tedium; just like the first 2 stars
10/12/10 J.P. Ward Nice to revisit the terrain, but this sequel w[rec]ks any suspension of disbelief. 3 stars
8/10/10 Chad Dillon Cooper Great followup to REC. 4 stars
7/27/10 Ronald Holst Boo I just saved you money . 1 stars
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  09-Jul-2010 (R)
  DVD: 12-Jul-2011


  DVD: 12-Jul-2011

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