Review by Derrick Carter
Running Time: 1 hour 18 minutes
MPAA Rating: R for Bloody Horror Violence and Language
(Spanish with English subtitles)
Directed by: Jaume Balaguero & Paco Plaza
Written by: Jaume Balaguero, Luis A. Berdejo & Paco Plaza
Starring: Manuela Velasco, Ferran Terraza, Pablo Rosso & David Vert
REC is a film that is meant to be experienced, rather than analyzed. It’s the definition of a thrill-ride. The problem is that this ride has already been slightly soiled for those who unknowingly viewed the watered down lame remake titled QUARANTINE. That’s not to say that the film isn’t fun, but I can’t judge it for those who watched the remake before seeing this superior example of found footage terror. Of the last decade, this is one of the best examples of found footage done very right.
Angela Vidal is a reporter for the TV program While You’re Asleep. Her new episode is covering the night life of a firefighter. As she’s interviewing the hard-working men, she says that she almost wishes the alarm would ring to liven up the episode. She gets her wish and the alarm sounds. It seems like it will be a relatively simple situation. A woman is screaming bloody murder from her locked apartment.
Soon enough, it appears that the firefighters, a couple of police officers, the tenants of the apartment building, Angela, and her cameraman are way in over their heads. A deadly virus has broken loose inside the building. This sickness turns its victims into ravenous zombie-like cannibals. To make matters worse, they’ve all been sealed inside the apartment complex by the government. As the night progresses, the situation grows even more terrifying by every minute that passes. We watch as the footage reveals a worst-case scenario gone straight to hell and it makes for a scary ride!
REC benefits from having the guerilla style filmmaking down perfectly. Everything seems natural and realistic, even when the situation spirals into a whirlwind of chaos. If you get right down to it, REC is one jump scare after another, but they’re all well-executed and handled with skill. This is a movie made to be an experience. It grabs you from the moment we enter the apartment of an elderly woman covered in blood and doesn’t let go for the remainder of the film.
The big apartment building becomes a claustrophobic deathtrap as the movie goes on. This feels REAL and that’s what makes REC stand out among many of its found footage brethren. It certainly doesn’t hurt that the film runs under 80 minutes, making for a tight film. The part that may lose some viewers’ interest is in the middle section, where it seems like things might be dying down for a bit. Rest assured, right when the film has gotten you comfortable, REC goes off the rails and proceeds to get scarier and scarier and even scarier!
The final moments of REC have cemented their place in many horror fans’ hearts as one of the most terrifying endings to ever grace the cinematic world. Though QUARANTINE went so far to spoil some of the fun by including the second-to-last shot in their posters, TV spots, and trailers, REC still stands the test of being able to hold its own. Definitely check out REC and forget that awful Jennifer Carpenter imitation even exists!