Written by: TheFecalKid
When it comes to horror movies, I'm sure most of you will agree with me when I say it is almost impossible to find a truly decent one. I've more or less given up on mainstream titles, and turned my eyes toward the independent and foreign film markets. This has turned out very fruitful, as I can say that almost every single film I've seen has been dark, chilling and downright terrifying - everything a horror film should be. The recent Dimension Extreme release Inside proved to be one of the darkest horror films I've seen in years, and I doubted if I'd see another one like it for some time. That is until I came across a little film titled [Rec].
Tonight's film begins with Angela (Manuela Velasco), the host of a documentary TV series While You're Asleep, and her cameraman Marcos (Pablo Rosso) following a group of Barcelona firefighters during their nightly routine. They interview the fire chief, join the men in their dinner, and nothing much happens until they receive a call that an old lady is trapped in her apartment. After meeting up with police at the scene, they force themselves into the apartment to find a crazed elderly woman, screaming and covered in blood. While trying to calm her down, one of the police officers is viciously attacked by the woman, and is brought downstairs with the hopes of getting an ambulance. The group soon realizes that the building has been quarantined because of a BNC (Biological/Nuclear/Chemical) hazard, and will remain this way until a health inspector can get inside and give the all clear. As the group tends to the wounded police officer, another person is violently attacked, and soon everyone is fighting for their survival as the virus spreads from person to person, turning the infected into violent, enraged killers.
When I first heard the title for this movie, and saw the posters, I assumed it was just another torture film done with the hand held camera to give it a more realistic feel. I had no idea I was watching a virus outbreak film until almost a third of the way through it, and that really says something about it. It was very unconventional, and while that may seem like a bad thing, believe me when I say it wasn't. This genre of film was all but dead before 28 Days Later came out, but that was 6 years ago, and we were in need of an updated - and somewhat original - take on the idea. The zombies, and I use the term lightly, are very much like the ones from 28 Days Later in both speed and appearance. The only major difference, which I think plays a large part in what makes them very unique, is the high pitched squeal they let off before and while they attack people. It doesn't sound like much, but it really adds a lot to the film, when the cameraman - who is essentially you - is walking around in total darkness, that shriek comes out of nowhere, and all hell breaks loose.
I saw this film with subtitles, and since all Spanish sounds flustered and panicked, it is hard to say whether or not the acting was good. From what I could tell, the characters' progression from normal to terror seemed very realistic and not at all forced. The first person aspect added a nice element to this, as very few cuts took place, and a majority of the scenes were a minute or two long, and focused on a small group of people. It had a very claustrophobic feel to it, and there were times where I was honestly on the edge of my seat as they walked through a narrow hallway, wondering who, or what, would jump out at them. There wasn't an excessive amount of blood and gore in this one, but what was used was tasteful, and seemed realistic. There were a few shaky moments, where it seemed that the effects looked a little sketchy, but from what I understand, this was a very low budget film, and I can forgive them on some special effects bloopers. Considering that was the only minor gripe I had with the entire film, I'd have to say it was damn near a perfect movie. It was also nice to see some Night of the Living Dead and The Shining references thrown in, just for the geek factor.
Like every other film of its kind, the first thing people want to do is compare it to The Blair Witch Project. I have no problem with that, as I feel that [Rec] is actually a superior film. What I do have a problem with is it catching shit for using this style of filming. I know it's not the first of its kind, but if you want to nitpick, the film has been circulating film festivals in Europe for almost a year now, and not just cashing in on the success of Cloverfield and Diary of the Dead. Sadly, this movie probably won't see a DVD release until after the remake, which has been scheduled for an October release. It has been given the more obvious title of Quarantine and is being directed by the same man who brought us The Poughkeepsie Tapes, another movie which looks to use the POV style of film making. Hopefully the remake can live up to what a fantastic ride this film was. It went from casual to balls-to-the-wall horror in mere seconds, and didn't let up until the final scene, which was one of the most terrifying finales I think I've seen since the aforementioned Blair Witch Project. I wish I could tell all of you to get out there and see this film right away, but unfortunately we'll all have to wait for that undetermined DVD release. 10/10.