Horrorible Review: “[rec]”

Enjoy this Monday with Mildred!

This is also Zombie World Tour post!


[rec] movie poster


Este viaje a España es una de mis películas favoritas de terror sangriento. Or so says google translate.

For those of you too young to remember recording devices that don’t make phone calls (do you even remember phone calls?), the brackets around the letters “REC” means you are video recording.  This is appropriate for [rec] because the story concerns a nice, pretty tv journalist doing ride alongs with a beefcake fire department while her cameraman Pablo records all the smiling, the coy interviews, and a wailing ride in the engine to an apartment house in an old part of Barcelona.

“Wait!” you say.  “I’ve seen this movie before and it’s an AMERICAN film called Quarantine.” Oh, sure, there is a film by that name, with that plot, with a lot of the same dialogue.  But Spain did it first, and while the American version is okay, you really should see the original.  It’s more of everything.  The claustrophobic atmosphere is tighter, the innocent journalist and firemen seem more vulnerable, and the old world evilness of it all gives everything a terrifying spin.

The filmmakers worked hard to get good reactions from his actors, at times scaring them half to death because they didn’t know what was coming until they were in the middle of it.  The lead, played by Manuela Velasco suffered the most for our entertainment.  Everything works in the film.  The plot is simple, but the timing of the building danger and relentless scramble to escape are very well constructed.  The camera work is one of the actors, really, and it gets pretty shaky at times but that totally makes sense considering what’s going on.  One of the shots is reported to be twenty minutes long, but I was too wrapped up to really notice.  There is no music in the film, but the sound is also a beefy major player and you might find yourself covering your ears, along with your eyes.  The setting is awesome, with an old world charm, narrow spaces, and lots of dark corners.

This is a zombie film in which the social media isn’t just a throwaway means of inserting exposition or maybe a winking joke.  It is a character in the story and is literally under attack by The Authorities and by the snarling, running dead.

There are three sequels, and I’ve seen parts two and three.  Two takes up at the end of the frantic and frightening first movie, and it’s not bad for a sequel.  A lot more of the backstory is revealed and the threat’s true menace is more fully revealed.  Three doesn’t quite cut it, for me, though it has a much larger budget, because it loses a lot the claustrophobic, dark, and frantic tone of the first film. It’s not bad as third in a series goes, but it’s following a really fine film.  I haven’t seen four yet, but it’s waiting for me to find time at home.  It takes place on a ship in the ocean and stars Ms. Valesco again and so should be entertaining in that respect at least.

I highly recommend that you find this film if you haven’t yet seen it, because it’s a really great horror movie and a ripping good zombie film as well.  My local video store has gotten rid of their DVD copy, so you may have to search it out a little, but it’s well worth the effort.


[REC] (2007) – Official Trailer

UPDATE! Mildred prefers this trailer: Rec – Trailer

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