Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Plenty of horror flicks have used the first-person faux-documentary camera technique to varying degrees of success. The Blair Witch Project pioneered the handheld trend over a decade ago and most recently, Paranormal Activity took up the mantle in what was a pretty solid scare-fest.
2007’s [Rec] was undoubtedly the best of the bunch. It was brief but it was bloody brilliant (or brilliantly bloody) and it crafted terrifying imagery that lingered. I considered that inventive little Spanish gem to be one of my favourites horror films ever.
It goes without saying that Jaume Balaguero and Paco Plaza had big shoes to fill with this sequel... and boy, did they deliver. [Rec] 2 picks up 15 minutes right after the events in the original and just goes full throttle.
The first movie practiced the art of the patient build-up; this one just throws you into a straight-up adrenaline pumping shoot-out. Much like Aliens was to Alien; [Rec] 2 is a whole different ballgame, just set in the same field.
Staying true to the titular gimmick, this encounter is recorded via the helmet cameras of the SWAT team that storms the quarantined building, tasked with aiding a doctor in obtaining the blood sample of the original infected girl, (or what I like to call Possession Zero) in the hopes of finding a vaccine for diabolic possession.
The movie expands the [Rec] mythology exponentially by chucking away traditional zombie lore. The audience learns very early on that the infected aren’t the living dead; they’re actually possessed (biologically) by a demon.
It sounds kind of corny and it is, but the writers do something very clever by having the protagonists sceptically question this theory at every turn. The fact that the SWAT team don’t take the notion of demonic possession seriously at first (along with the first-person visuals) lends a verity to the story that nullifies any audience incredulity.
The only drawback to the kinetic franticness of the sequel is that there isn’t much room for character development. The SWAT team members are interchangeable and so are the civilians caught in between. We don’t get to know them so therefore we don’t really care what happens to them.
[Rec] was very deliberate in setting up slow-burn scenarios where we came to love certain characters only for them to be violently disposed of later. It’s a gut-punch that [Rec] 2 lacks.
Instead we get the opposite: characters so abrasive or annoying or stupid, that we can’t wait for them to be killed in the most creative way possible. I found myself rooting for the zombie-demons quite a few times.
[Rec] 2 is a marvellous companion piece to [Rec] but it just isn’t quite as good. Nevertheless, it’s a still a twisted ball of a time. Let’s just hope Quarantine 2 isn’t in the works.
About Hidzir Junaini
Hidzir Junaini, aka inSing.com's Movie Lover, is 23-years-old and a wealthy playboy billionaire by day and a caped crusader by night. Only one of those is true. He’s actually a freelance writer, blogger, full-time film buff and some-time socially awkward nerd. He also writes about music, restaurants and nightlife for Metrowize Asia.
Hidzir is the winner of the inaugural inSing Movie Lover contest that garnered over 1,000 participants. The Movie Lover contest is a search for a candidate who possesses outstanding passion for movies and a talent for writing engaging movie reviews.