June 16, 2013

[REC] 2

Jaume Balaguero & Paco Plaza, 2009

Balaguero and Plaza take you back to the same apartment building where the first film is set. A few SWAT team officers accompany a health minister into the building in an effort to find survivors. When they enter the building, they realize that they are not in the company of a health minister. He's a completely different type of minister, one who is very aware of what's inside the building and how to stop the infection from spreading.

[REC] 2 picks up immediately after the end of the first film, and does so seamlessly. The film immediately takes an interesting turn. It starts off as a Zombie found-footage film very much like the first, but soon morphs into this religious-possession-zombie hybrid. The viewer sees the film through the lenses of helmet cams and handhelds, and the unreliable cam-light guides the way through the narrow corridors of the building. The jittery shots add to the feeling of sudden panic. Shadow play, zombie babies, technical difficulties with the camera that lead to abrupt blackness create this spectrum of terror that easily rivals any horror classic. In fact, just the ceiling trembling from the pitter-patter of baby zombies crawling is enough to scare the hell out of anyone. The found footage element also puts you in the company of the officers as they reinforce the feeling of being trapped in this decaying apartment building. Balaguero and Plaza perform this camera trick a few times where there is a skipping to the video image, almost 3D like. The image freezes, skips a bit, all lined up with the audio track. It felt unique and only added to the tension already present in the scene. Of course sometimes its also what you DON'T see, and the filmmakers effectively let your imagination go to work on the unknown elements that are on the other side of the door, or lurking in the shadows. The film succeeds in its minimal story, effective pacing, and solid scares. [REC] 2 is an evolved, more multifarious version of the first film. But it never tries to separate or out-do itself from the first, and that's why it stays consistent.

Plot Hole? It's surprising how obedient the SWAT officers are to the minister. He continues to tell them they cannot leave the building until they complete the mission, but what is stopping them from just turning around and walking out? He doesn't appear to be in a position to reprimand them or threaten their careers. Besides, their careers would be the last thing they would be thinking about after enduring a night like this. I would imagine when they leave the building they would be job-hunting the next day.

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