If you remember Quarantine, you may or may not know that it was yet another American butchering of a foreign movie. In this case, it was a butchering of a Spanish horror film titled [Rec]. Well, now Spain has come out with a sequel to [Rec]. Now the question of whether or not [Rec 2] suffered because of the American remake remains.
The movie picks up almost exactly at the point that [Rec] left off. It even plays the last moment of the reporter being dragged off into the darkness that both the American and Spanish versions of the movie ends on. So it begins with the simple yet effective ending of its predecessor.
Where the original followed people from the ministry of health/fire department going through apartment building filled with what seems to be the “zombies” from 28 Days/Weeks Later, this time for part of the movie you’re following the equivalent of a SWAT team escorting a priest through the building that is still infested. There are the stories of a couple of groups that come up in the movie. Some of the events make it seem like a side story and a sequel at the same time so it is hard to gauge which it is even though it is still engaging.
In the original, they alluded to the religious factor of the “zombies,” something that was almost entirely cut out of Quarantine. Now they confirm that the zombies are demon possessed people. No, this isn’t a spoiler. It’s revealed in the first 20 minutes of [Rec 2].
The atmosphere of the movie is very similar to that of [Rec]. It’s very claustrophobic and foreboding. It is a bit too formulaic though in terms of presentation. After the opening rehash of the closing of [Rec], the movie does try to shove as much character development of the SWAT team as possible.
Unfortunately, if you watch a lot of movies like this, you can tell exactly who is going to get turned in which order just by listening to the conversation. You’d think that would take away from the atmosphere of the movie. It really doesn’t though. I mean, yes, it is predictable but that doesn’t mean that the atmosphere drops any since atmosphere is based off of the feel and look of the place. It’s an old, barely lit building filled with the damned. If you don’t think that’s atmospheric enough, why?
Since they do a pretty good job with getting you to connect with some of the people involved in the team, you do get engaged very quickly. It sucks you in even though it is formulaic and predictable. That is a hard thing to do and the movie succeeds.
The acting is, by American standards, pretty hammy. But actually, if you watch a lot of Spanish films, the movie’s acting comes across as very strong especially since you’re dealing with the whole Spanish bravado. It works.
One of the biggest problems, as stated earlier is that it is predictable. It’s not necessarily a matter of “how and when” but a matter of the fact that you can tell “who’s to die or be infected next.” It takes some of the surprise out of the movie. While it doesn’t drop the level of the atmosphere it does drop the quality of the film.
The other really big flaw is the camera work. If you hated movies like Cloverfield that rely heavily on the shakey cam system of showing movies you may not like this. That’s what most of the movie is. Then again, if you look at it from the start when you’re introduced to the team, you start to notice the fact that the entire movie is done through cameras attached to their helmets. So if they, sneeze, fight, pretty much do anything, the camera is moving. Yes, it does have a certain level of realism. However, if it’s relied on, the movie is more of a headache than anything.
Overall, it’s a pretty strong movie. The biggest problems that it has are predictability and the camerawork being occasionally headache-inducing. It’s far less of a problem than it was in [Rec] or Quarantine, but it still is problem. It is very likable if you’re able to get around these flaws. Still, I wanted to give this movie a solid A but the flaws were strong enough to bring it down to a B-grade movie.
Great atmosphere and genuine scares make for a strong religious horror/thriller story.