[Rec] 2 (2009)
Directed by: Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza
Starring: Jonathan D. Mellor, Óscar Zafra, Ariel Casas, Alejandro Casaseca, Pablo Rosso, Pep Molina, Andrea Ros, Àlex Batllori, Pau Poch, Juli Fàbregas, Ferran Terraza, Claudia Silva, Manuela Velasco
1/2 (out of 4)
The kid’s eating pop rocks and coke again…
Rec 2 is the sequel to the enjoyable Spanish zombie-outbreak thriller REC, which you may recall took place in a tenant building and involved a reporter (Manuela Velasco) embedded with firemen responding to an emergency at the scene. It ends with a zombie/viral outbreak and the entire building is quarantined. [Rec] 2, again directed by the team of Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza, begins where the first film left off, and again the directors use the found-footage/cam-shot method in the style of Cloverfield, the Paranormal Activity movies, Blair Witch, The Last Exorcism, etc. This time around, the action starts with a SWAT team ordered to go inside and find survivors, bringing along a specialist from the health department (Jonathan D. Mellor) who knows more than he lets on. Cleverly, the movie sets up each team member with a helmet-cam (like in Aliens) so everything they see can be recorded. The team finds out very quickly that they are in over their heads.
REC 2 introduces the interesting idea that the zombie virus is really demonic in origin. It suggests that the Vatican was experimenting with the blood of a possessed girl, hoping to find an “antidote” to possession (I thought an exorcism was the antidote, but never mind). The film doesn’t really do much with this particular plot development though, opting instead to spend most of its time on random shaky images of demons attacking and people running around panicking and shouting at one another. While I didn’t mind the shaky-cam elements making up the first film, here I found them to be an annoyance, made worse by the fact that there is absolutely no lighting in this film. Almost all of it takes place in darkness, occasionally lit by the muzzle flash of a gun or the green filter of a night vision camera. Occasionally, a possessed person will pop out of the darkness for a jump-scare, but instead of being frightened I just kept thinking about haunted houses from Halloween Horror Nights.
Please return that to the Evil Dead cabin when you’re done with it.
I wanted to like Rec 2. I really did. But it does too many things wrong. The SWAT team members are hardly professional, losing their cool almost immediately (and they seem incapable of shooting monsters in the head). Attack scenes are too shaky and are delivered in the style of a (poorly lit) first person shooter. Then, at the midway point of the picture, things really fall apart. Rec 2 decides to switch cameras and follow the exploits of a trio of the dumbest kids I have ever seen in a movie. These troublemakers see a quarantined building wrapped in plastic and actually go in the building on purpose. One of them grabs a gun and accidentally fires it .. twice. Eventually, the action becomes repetitive and mundane. And nothing in it is very scary.
Which Sacrament is this?
The film introduces a neat concept about secret places hidden in darkness (that can only be revealed through night vision). A nice idea, but a classic case of too little, too late. The final shot makes no sense at all and is taken straight from The Hidden. As I said, I was looking forward to Rec 2 but I just came away disappointed. There are good examples of found footage horror out there – the first [Rec], for instance. The sequel, unfortunately, can not be included among them.
- Bill Gordon
This is my Linda Blair! Get your own!