Notable Cast: Manuela Velasco, Jonathan Mellor, Oscar Zafara
Review: [REC] was easily one of the best zombie films I have ever seen. It did what films like Diary of the Dead didn’t do. It was a roller-coaster ride that had me jumping out of my seat and squealing with enjoyment. It was something new in a genre where innovation is key. So many zombie films can be made, but not all bring something new to the table. That is why I love [REC]. And that is why waiting for [REC] 2 to hit the States was eating away at me inside. And since I didn’t live by one of the few opening locations, IO was my only option to the see the film. But how could a sequel live up to one of the most exciting films I’ve seen in years? Easy, by taking everything you thought you knew about the original and turning it on its head. It does what a fantastic sequel should do which is build upon the original while still keeping everything that made the first film such a stand out. This film rocks and rolls the whole way through and proves that there is still unreached potential in the zombie genre. And it’s taking place in Spain.
This is a direct sequel to [REC], taking place mere seconds after the last one leaves off. In recap, an apartment building gets quarantined after the release of a “dangerous virus.” Trapped inside are some civil workers and the attendants, and lets just say [REC] 2 happens because the people inside stop responding. So, this time a health official and a small SWAT team are sent in to do some recon and get out. Problem is, they have no idea what they are dealing with. They have no idea of the events that took place in [REC] so to them this is more of just a smash and grab information run. Poor ignorant bastards. But don’t expect a cut and dry SWAT team goes in, no one comes out kind of film. There are tons of twist and turns that add to the film, even finding interesting ways to throw and extra character or two into the group. Let’s just say the SWAT team has their work cut out for them if they don’t want to suffer the same [REC] fate.
Seriously, as far as sequels go this is one of the best. It wasn’t just a clone of the first that simply copied the formula of the first. It wasn’t just happy with throwing another film of the same caliber (which is exactly what the American version is doing…directly to DVD). No. It was created to take the story of the first and keep it moving forward, giving the folklore of [REC] even more of a back story while hyping you even more for another. I’m doing my best not to go into detail about where the story goes because if you haven’t seen it, it is incredibly worth it. I strongly encourage everyone to see [REC] and then [REC] 2 because of their success as a whole. If you’ve been turned off to the zombie genre by recent Romero films and crappy knockoffs, take comfort in knowing that these films make Romero’s look like child’s play. The [REC] franchise scored not only as an extraordinary zombie attempt, but as a horror/thriller as a whole with many positive points for audiences of all kinds. Yes, a movie like Land of the Dead I find entertaining, but not something that all can watch. [REC] is a movie that I make everyone watch, and it has not disappointed a single soul yet.
But OK, focusing just on [REC] 2 specifically, I love the fact that one of the first things the film does is re-visit one of the most stand out locations/moments from the first, causing you to immediately hold your breath/clench your butt-cheeks. They waste no time gunning into the story and answers from the first are answered rather early on, just so they can create a whole other slew of uncertainty which makes [REC] 2 a defining movie on its own.
And I know, a lot of people are still against the first person shaky cam. But god, if any movie if more fitting for first person it’s a horror or zombie film. It can be utilized for scares, reaction, and even emotion. It puts you in the building with the SWAT team and not just watching them on a screen. Your heart is pounding when one has to open a door or such, with no way of knowing what is waiting on the other side. Or the intensity of running away from a group of zombies as the camera is bouncing on the side of the SWAT members. The camera views inject a steroid boost of extremity and terror which again gives [REC] 2 an edge of many other zombie entries.
But the worst part about these films that I love so much is that there are always those people who love to tear them apart because they hate the horror/zombie genre. I read too many comments like “this film is unbelievable because the SWAT team was so unprofessional and afraid.” No…the film is unbelievable because IT IS A ZOMBIE MOVIE. But if you really want to argue it? Fine. Yes, they are a SWAT team who deals with getting shot at by criminals and busting into buildings in far worse condition. But you think they are trained to deal with zombies? Do you think they even understand zombies? Sure, we all watch movies about them but what would you do if it became a reality? You could play it cool and calm and pull off a perfect head shot every time? In open areas and against Romero zombies, maybe. But not in [REC]. Now amp it up even more and imagine yourself LOCKED inside a building you find out is infested with zombies…with no possible way out. You try being cool calm and collected Rambo. Chances are you’ll be shitting your pants cowering in a corner because the only thing you’ll be able to think about is how the world you know it is slowly turning into a zombie battleground and this may be the end. Only a moron would debate the realism of a zombie film. The idea is to put yourself in their roles and imagine it was true, not discredit it because it isn’t true. There will always be haters of this genre who have no right to comment on the quality of the films, but they’ll do it anyway. Free speech my ass.
Despite what some say, [REC] 2 is an unbelievable sequel that left my mouth on the floor when it was over. It was so good to me I not only watched it, but paid to watch it only a few nights later. That, my friends, is unheard of. Without Romero, [REC] 1/2 couldn’t have happened. But with that said, both films leave most of the genre, including Romero’s, in the dust. They are masterful and gorgeous. [REC] 2 takes the entire franchise in a unique new direction that only increases my excitement, but does something many franchises fail at. It actually get’s me ready for yet another installment. A lot of movies we can agree should have stopped at two, or even one. But the way things are going with this set of movies, I never want them to stop. Keep the excitement and zombie slaying coming, because it needs to come from somewhere. And right now, no one is doing it better than [REC].
Final Rating: 8.5 times I jumped out of my seat out of 10