FINAL TIFF REVIEW: [REC] 2
Directors: Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza
Writers: Jaume Balagueró, Manu Díez and Paco Plaza
Plot: Picking up immediately after the events of the original, [Rec] 2 follows a group of soldiers into the quarantined building to suss out and contain the infection. Accompanying them is a rep from the Ministry of Health who knows more about the outbreak than he’s telling. Meanwhile, a trio of teens get more than they bargained for when they find themselves trapped inside the infected zone.
Thoughts: The original Spanish-language [Rec] (2007) benefitted from tales of terrified audience members (one trailer consisted of nothing but reaction shots of frightened filmgoers) and a paucity of interesting horror at the time, but it largely failed to live up to the hype. (The English-language Hollywood remake, 2008’s Quarantine, although almost identical, was, dare I say it, superior in its craftsmanship, character development and quality of scares.)
Co-directors Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza have taken up the challenge of a sequel they hadn’t originally envisioned by amping up the thrills and filling in the back story of the “virus” that turns the building’s residents into murderous monsters. (I won’t reveal the infection’s true nature, but it’s a good idea which deepens the terror, especially – minor spoiler alert – for those of you with faith.)
Again, the film consists exclusively of footage meant to be shot by its characters, so we see the terrified reactions of the soldiers and teens as they’re attacked by the rampaging infected, and the original’s night vision conceit again helps deliver some of the best chills. [Rec] cinematographer Pablo Rosso returns, and makes the most of the point-of-view video conceit to bring the horror home.
Few sequels manage to top the original so kudos to Balagueró and Plaza for delivering a film Hollywood will find hard to best… although we wouldn’t say no to seeing more Jennifer Carpenter.