Thursday, 22 September 2011

[REC] 2: Review

[REC] was easily one of the best and scariest horror films of 2007. I may even go as far to say that [REC] is one of the best horror films in the last decade. It sounded like an utterly nausea inducing idea, pitting a camera crew in a quarantined hotel with hell of a lot of zombies and no possible escape. But the film remained completely compelling from start to finish, with the 'shaky cam' adding to the dread and isolation, as the characters quickly become zombie chew one by one as they made their way around the darkened and claustrophobic corridors. I would of thought that hand held mockumentary style films would only suffice for one film as showing a piece of footage that aims to be 'real' only really works when its presented in a single package with an air of mystery surrounding it. So I was surprised when [REC] 2 was announced and I was cynical about it as I was with the first film. So I finally sat down to give [REC] 2 my undivided attention and I can say that I was pleasantly surprised.

The film picks up right where we left off and quickly cuts to a S.W.A.T. that is being sent to to the apartment block to escort some dude from the Ministry of Health in. We get a quick look at the team, learn their names and have a quick equipment check to show us that this time they have about 50 bazillion cameras mounted on each guy so we won't be able to miss any of the action. Rather then spending too much time on this, [REC] 2 quickly tosses this aside and gets right to heart of the story after the questionable ending of the first film. Things are quickly answered that throws the whole 'zombie' thing right out the window and replaces it with a nice dose of demons and possession (if you didn't guess from the ending of the first).

The film can be moderately scary throughout, throwing in some truly tense moments. You can't help rolling your eyes at some of the horrendous decisions some of the characters make, sending some off alone or watching others pump round after round of lead into some of the possessed, mouth foaming crazies when earlier on in the film we found a simple shot to the head would suffice. Despite following a team around that is armed to the teeth, the film manages to give off a strong atmosphere. With the buildings power off, everything groans and creaks and footsteps can be heard pattering and thumping around on the higher floors. I was enjoying the film a lot until things took a very strange turn.

Half way through the film the camera breaks and suddenly we switch to another group of characters that have found their way inside. A group of kids, defying all the quarantine sighs, police, choppers and the impenetrable bubble that the building has been coated in, decide to sneak in because it seems like such a good idea. I don't get what it is with kids and wanting to fuck everything up. Look at 28 Weeks Later. Two kids sneak out of the quarantine, bring the infection back and pretty much get everyone killed. People should just do the decent thing and keep their kids on a leash.
While this was a pretty ballsy and annoying move, it worked. We're thrown in with another group of survivors that have no weapons and no way to defend themselves but to continually record everything on their shitty camera. They cry, they scream and they beg to go home. Just as you start feeling a bit sorry for them, the film decides to rectify its mistake by having one of them die and scarring the other two for life leaving us again with the story driven S.W.A.T.

If you enjoyed [REC] you will certainly get a kick out of this sequel. Following a highly trained S.W.A.T. gives you a sense of safety, as the helmet mounted camera gives us a clear look at their trained and professional exteriors. It also manges to be scary by tearing this away from you when they find they're training is about a useful as slapping a possessed lunatic across the face. The separate camera's for each team member is used effectively, allowing us view to some horrific death scenes and its full of the blood and guts we've all become accustomed to in these sorts of horror films. The story takes some questionable turns and doesn't quite know what to do with itself but knows it wants to be something a little different from the usual zombie films that flood the market today. Overall [REC] 2 is a worthy but unnecessary sequel.