Review by Derrick Carter
Running Time: 1 hour 24 minutes
MPAA Rating: R for Strong Bloody Violence, Disturbing Images and Pervasive Language
(Spanish with English subtitles)
Directed by: Jaume Balaguero & Paco Plaza
Written by: Jaume Balaguero, Paco Plaza & Manu Diez
Starring: Jonathan Mellor, Ariel Casas, Pau Poch, Andrea Ros & Manuela Velasco
REC 2 is the kind of sequel that all horror franchises should aim for. This isn’t a mere cash-in on a critically acclaimed horror classic. It builds on the story in new and creative ways, while also giving fans more of what we loved so much in REC. It’s not as phenomenal as that first film, which was pretty much a masterpiece in the found footage subgenre, but REC 2 is a bloody blast of fun! While the first REC was like the most immersive haunted house, REC 2 is like a demonic first-person shooter brought to life.
Bringing back the found footage style and every member of the original cast (now as ravenous infected monsters), REC 2 picks up 15 minutes after the original movie ended. A SWAT team of four, accompanied by a health official enter the quarantined apartment building to investigate a possible antidote for the virus. The danger increases when the health official reveals himself as a priest and explains that this isn’t an ordinary illness. This is brought on by an enzyme taken from a possessed girl. In other words, the SWAT team is dealing with a building full of possessed people and they may not have enough firepower and faith to take them all down. To reveal anything more would ruin the surprises in store for potential viewers. Just know that the film takes a hard left turn halfway through and doesn’t head where you expected it to go at all.
For the first half of the film, I was ready to chalk REC 2 up to being a better movie than the first. The scares and action never really let up. The creative ideas on display never got boring and the return of familiar faces as the possessed victims was a very nice touch. Everything from the set design to playing on familiar scares from the last film, added a new element that was making REC 2 the perfect follow-up and companion piece. None of the acting wavered either. There is one issue though…
Halfway through the film, REC 2 takes a change of pace and after all the havoc experienced by the SWAT team, this sudden shift really took its toll on the film. (Minor Spoiler!) We follow a few other characters who make their way inside the building and these people were annoying and stupid. Making every dumb decision that we loathe horror characters for making. While the dynamic and chemistry in the SWAT team felt real, these people felt like they were reading from a script. Mercifully, we don’t put up with them for too long, but they definitely detracted from the movie.
The ending attempts to bring things full circle to the terrifying conclusion of the original film with mixed results. There are some effective moments in the final minutes, but the whole idea on display is rather silly when you really get down to it. It’s a shame that REC 2 started off so awesome and wound up being just serviceable by the conclusion. It’s still a solid movie and a horror sequel that respects the original, but there are parts of it that just don’t quite work as well as they were probably intended to. Watch REC 2 directly after REC for the best experience possible, because these two films work as companion pieces to each other. REC 2 winds up being good, when it could have been great.