Thursday, July 21, 2011

Movie Review: [REC] 2 (2009)

Oh baby, I have been waiting for this. [REC] 2 pretty much went straight from the mailbox to my DVD player and then into my horror-loving brain through my greedy eyes. [REC] is an insanely awesome Spanish horror film that I loved from the word "go" and I've been shaking in my pants ever since news of a sequel came out. Well, now I've finally seen it and gladly, [REC] 2 does not disappoint.

Taking off right from where the first film left us, [REC] 2 follows a small group of SWAT team-like leaders and a doctor from the Ministry of Health as they enter the quarantined apartment building after losing communication with those inside. Their orders are to record everything that happens and hopefully they can finally put a stop to the deadly infection that has taken over the building and the people in it.

The first doubt I had about this movie was how the filmmakers were going to justify using the real-time camera-vision thing from the first film. It made sense for that one because Angela and Pablo were already filming for a television show when they happen upon the apartment building. The SWAT guys going into the building and having to record everything for the health officials is a sort-of good excuse, but still a little iffy. Then the whole story gets turned on its head when we find out that the Ministry of Health guy leading the team is really NOT a Ministry of Health guy but a priest and what's been happening in the building is part of a religious experiment.

Ah, yes! Finally we get the truth about the infection. It was explained to a point at the end of the first film, but honestly, I still didn't get it. I was still believing there was some zombie-infection-virus thing going on and all the newspaper articles in the penthouse about demonic possession just confused me. The priest explains that the confirmation of the Portuguese girl's possession allowed the church, and one priest in particular, to discover that possession can be like a virus or infection in the host. While trying to find the antidote, using the girl herself in the experiments, the virus mutated and became contagious.

I truly thought that this little turn was quite ingenious. The idea of demonic possession as being a biological problem is a bit of a stretch, but it worked on me here. It's a different way to look at the monsters than if they were just zombies, or as the American version of [REC], Quarantine, interprets it, as people infected with rabies. There are a couple of good twists toward the end of the movie and while I usually enjoy spoiling the endings of movies, I feel like I should keep these to myself and just let you discover them on your own.

Okay, just one spoiler. And it's not really too surprising either - Angela shows up again. But I leave it at that.

Big downside to the movie was repetitiveness of the action sequences. Same thing, over and over - crazy yelling and red bloody eyes coming at our characters, teeth ready to chomp. The thing that got annoying in this movie was that different people are attacked several times and they are always able to throw them off - even if they remain at teeth distance for a long time - and walk away unscratched or unbitten, and therefore uninfected. With all the crazy kamikaze attacks by the possessed in this movie, a lot more people should have been turned or at least severely injured.

That aside, I was ecstatic to find a sequel that was just as good as, if not better than, the original. The acting was believable and real - loved the guy playing the priest. Very creepy face right there. The documentary style filmmaking was never distracting or too shaky or anything like that. As in [REC], scenes were often framed up very well to both look like a real film and like an amateur was shooting it. You could see all the important action, although at times the lighting was quite dark. But then again that sort of added to the scare factor.

[REC] 2 truly expands on the original film, answers questions from the original film, and brings in tons of new elements to make this movie almost a totally different experience.


  1. At first I hated the fact that they revealed the mystery behind this horrific story, but than I thought... Wow, I didn't see that one coming! They went in a completely different direction this time, didn't they? I absolutely loved it, but it still remains a notch below the original.
    Awesome review!

  2. Can't wait to get my own greedy little hands on this either, have been waiting forever for the stateside release! Nice review!

  3. I liked the first 2/3 of the original REC, but it eventually turned into a cliche-ridden, zombie film.

    With this film, I just did not like the twist. The fact that they revealed the logic for the 'zombies' is a bad thing.

    In the original film's ending, things are left ambiguous and open to interpretation. In this film, they are explained...and silly. I mean, really?!?

    By the way, splitting the film into two sections, only to join them back together and make the secondary characters EXTREMELY unimportant was also not a good thing.

    I don't hate the movie, but they really went in the wrong direction here. I guess we'll see how REC 3 and 4 take things.

  4. Great review, I can't wait to check this movie out. I loved the first one, it was so creepy & gory.

  5. @Nebs: Glad you liked it too! Original is still a touch better but the sequel definitely succeeds.

    @Daniel: I hope it's worth the wait for you!

    @Tim: Sometimes I feel like I NEED to know the "why" behind some happenings in movies. This was one of them. They thought of this whole great backstory for it, why shouldn't it be revealed? It adds much more to the movie, shows the severity of the situation.
    Oh, you mean the part with the kids? Yeah I wasn't into that part - it took too much away from the main story. But they weren't all completely unimportant. They talked to the girl through that one boy, remember?

  6. The new direction really surprised me as well. As you said, didn't see it coming.

  7. not a big fan of Rec2, mainly because of the lame backstory, the part with the kids and way too many scenes that were too similar to scenes from the 1st part.

  8. Those air vent scenes really get to me. So claustrophobic as it is and then those little wankers suddenly shows up. Uber creepy stuff indeed!