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July 17, 2011

[REC] 2

(2009, Dir. by Jaume Balaguero & Paco Plaza.)

If you ever want to know what's wrong with Hollywood studios, take a look at [REC] and [REC] 2.  The first film was released overseas in 2007 to much fanfare, which naturally led Sony Pictures to get ahold of the rights to the film - so they could remake it.  That led to a) the mostly scene-for-scene remake Quarantine happening in 2008, and b) [REC]'s American release being postponed until July of 2009, after Quarantine was already past theaters and on to home video.

Fast forward two years to this week and you'll find the DVD release of [REC] 2.  Why now, despite the fact it was in festivals as of October '09?  Oh, it's because the Direct-to-DVD Quarantine 2 is out already.  History repeats itself.

This whole situation is shameful for many reasons, but the biggest reason horror lovers should care about the whole Sony screwjob is that both [REC] films are fan-freakin'-tastic horror movies.

[REC] 2 (which is like the hardest title in the world to type because of that dang [ sign that I always think requires the shift key) picks up shortly after [REC] closes, as a S.W.A.T. team and a priest enter the fated apartment building minutes after the conclusion of that film.  It took me a minute to figure out just what the reasoning for this was - truthfully, I'd forgotten a couple of the minor reveals in the third act of the first film - but thankfully this sequel takes a few moments to remind us what is going on.  The film is certainly a little more talky than its precursor, but that doesn't mean the tension is gone.  In fact, I'd say the increased knowledge of the proceeding actually adds to the intrigue.

The extra exposition also doesn't slow the film's pace, and the returning directors offer plenty of fast-paced and gore-infused violence throughout the film.  At times it seems like zombies/infected/potentially-something-elses are coming out of nowhere. I must admit that I wondered where all these people were while quarantined inside the building for the entire first movie, but the film sends a clear message - that no one is safe at any time.

As it jumps from one person's perspective to another, [REC] 2 goes through a slight lull in the middle of the film when things start to get repetitive.  While there's still plenty of action, you can really only see an infected dude or dudette shamble down a corridor and then attack so many times before it gets redundant.  The filmmakers must have recognized this danger, because the third act introduces a surprise that changes our view on the ordeal that the characters in these two films have been through.  I won't even think of going into details here - the reveal is worth the wait - but it definitely took [REC] 2 to a place I didn't expect it to go to.

You obviously need to have seen the first film to enjoy [REC] 2, but I see no reason any horror fan (who speaks Spanish or knows how to read) wouldn't love these two claustrophobic, action packed, tension filled films.  As for the sequel, it has everything a horror fan could ask for, and is one of the rare sequels that manages to capture the same success as its predecessor.  After its final act surprises, I'm left confident that whatever Balaguero and Plaza do next - even if it is [REC] 3 - will be worth checking out. 


R.D. Penning said...

damn it I need to see this.

R.D. Penning said...

And [REC]3: Genesis comes out this year.

DTG Reviews said...

Maybe not as innovative as the first one with its single-camera viewpoint, but sequel is a highly enjoyable and effective horror.