Saturday, October 22, 2011

[REC] Review

[REC] is a Spanish "found footage" film written and directed by Jaume Balaguero. It is the first installment of the [REC] series.

The movie follows Angela Vidal, a local news reporter and her cameraman Pablo, who are on-site at a firehouse in Barcelona doing a show for her documentary series "While You're Asleep."

The entire movie is filmed from the point of view of her cameraman Pablo. It feels like he truly is a professional cameraman. There are moments of shaky cam hell, but for the most part, he holds the camera steady. (And for that I am thankful. I don't know about you, but other first person point-of-view found footage films make me motion sick.)

During her tour of the firehouse there is an emergency call, and they join the firefighters in their truck as they head over to an apartment complex. The firemen were called in to help an elderly woman who is trapped in her apartment.  As soon as they break down the door and enter her apartment, you see that something isn't quite right. The old woman charges at them, attacks and bites a policeman.

Angela and Pablo are forced to leave and go down to the lobby of the building where the other residents of the complex have gathered. Screams echo down from above, and it is clear that they are all in danger when a fireman is tossed over the stair railing and plummets to his death.

They try to get out to escape, only to find the building has been sealed off and quarantined.
There is no escape.
Anyone who attempts to leave will be shot.

Angela and Pablo decide to keep filming everything and interview the eye-witnesses. One such witness is a little girl named Jennifer, who is sick with tonsillitis. She tells Angela that her dog Max was taken to the vet because he was sick. It turns out that her dog was euthanized after he attacked and killed other animals at the veterinary clinic. Jennifer then attacks her mother, and the infection begins to spread even faster than it was before.

The last scenes give us a glimpse of the cause behind the outbreak. It is the most original take on a zombie virus that I have ever seen. But I won't spoil it for you. You're going to have to watch the movie and see for yourself.

[REC] combines an outbreak thriller with supernatural monsters for a bloody good scare. The tension builds, and keeps building as events become more and more dire for the characters. They are chased around the building, as the numbers of the infected increase. The disease drives them raving mad, the infected scream and howl as they go after the living trapped in the building with them, ripping them apart with their teeth and bare hands.

What makes [REC] such a fantastic movie is that once the action starts, it doesn't stop. The imminent threat of anyone trapped in the building being attacked and turned into a blood thirsty zombie creates a tense atmosphere and suspense that leaves you on the edge of your seat, wanting to find out what is going to happen next, yet terrified as to what the end result will be.

[REC] is the best Spanish zombie movie and quite the best found footage horror film ever made. It is down-right scary. The last 10 minutes of the movie are so intense, they will stay with you for a very, very long time.

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