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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 Greg Ursic

"Don't mess with Spanish Zombies"
3 stars

Zombie flicks have remained largely formulaic over the decades with shambling undead brain-eating mobs chase down and capture victims despite the fact that said zombies walk slower than an arthritic octogenarian. The Brits provided the genre with a much needed rejuvenation beginning with Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later in 2002 in which speedy proto-zombies infected with a rage virus turned England into a charnel house and 2006’s Shaun of the Dead which deftly balanced dark tongue in cheek horror with some graphic blood and guts was probably one of the most widely viewed zombie. If 2007’s [Rec] is any indicator, the next level of undead terror may belong to the Spaniards.

In [REC] writer/directors Jaume Balaguero and Paco Plaza cinema-verite piece a chirpy journalist and her television crew recorded the experiences of a team of firefighters on late night rounds. When they accompanied the firefighters on a supposedly routine call to an apartment building they learned that the inhabitants had succumbed to the effects of a mysterious virus. Of course no one expected that the quasi-mystical virus would turn its victims into hard to kill homicidal maniacs, and one by one the team members were either turned or picked off.

The improved Blair Witch aesthetic featured genuinely stirring performances, jarring, bombastically gory action sequences and concluded with the nerve jangling nightvision shot of a young woman screaming as she's dragged off into the dark which left viewers gasping. It also set the stage for a sequel.

[REC]2 opens roughly 15 minutes after its predecessor’s closing sequence (it’s included for reference for those viewers who may have missed the first film). This time around it’s a SWAT team that’s been called into the fray to accompany a medical officer to search for and hopefully help any people who haven’t been infected by the airborne virus. What the SWAT guys don’t know is that the rescue mission is a ruse - they’re there to put down any infected people - and that the doctor isn’t who he says he is All they know is they have to locate some blood samples and without the doc’s say so, they will not be permitted to exit the building. Within minutes of entering the building they’re set upon by the ragers and things quickly go to hell (in more ways than one). As they fight for survival they must also try to rescue a trio of teen thrill seekers who’ve snuck into the building.

While the events in [REC] were largely limited to a single through-the-lens camera view, each of the SWAT members in [REC]2 is outfitted with a helmet mounted camera (reminiscent of the hive scene in Aliens), which provide viewers with multiple POV’s. This provides the opportunity for a series of exaggerated frenetic edits and up-close-and-personal shots that serve to both confuse and scare viewers. Balaguero and Plaza. also exploit individual POV’s to create a first-person-shooter feel, immersing viewers directly in the action, which makes for a series of claustrophobic white knuckle moments especially when things jump out of the shadows which in turn lead to some spectacular fight or flight sequences.

There is also no shortage of gore - including a particularly disturbing head spattering scene and another that will have you challenging your gag reflex - each more outrageous than the last and they will have you both laughing and cringing at the same time. And the actors do a solid job of making the unreal circumstances believable, especially the creepy guy who plays the doc. But it’s not all perfection.

Though ultimately effective within the context of the story, the subplot involving the teenagers is clumsily introduced and more importantly seriously disrupts the movie’s momentum as they are required to literally stop the SWAT plot to bring the teens in. In addition, the writers over reliance on the “dying camera” shtick gets a bit annoying, I mean really, they’re supposed to be using state of the art high end military equipment - did they just cheap out and hit WalMart on the way to the scene?.

The other concern is the exposition: the characters spend far too much time explaining what is going on with the origins of the virus and what they need to do to cure it, which, although novel, drains a bit of the mystery. Plus, it cuts into the creature killing.

Despite the aforementioned shortcomings, the overall pacing, innovative camera work, competent performances, a plethora of white knuckle moments and unmitigated gore make [REC]2 a worthwhile rental that will have you plugging in your night light.

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originally posted: 11/28/09 18:40:18
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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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