Written by: moviemaven
The verdict is in and it is official. American horror films have been trumped by foreign releases repeatedly this year. I have already discussed how much I love the French films that have been coming out to show us how it's done. And now the Spanish sensation [REC] has reared its head...and scared the living crap right out of me.
For all you horror fans who wander the aisles of the video stores in vain searching for something to keep you up at night and for all you ticket holders to this year's latest snooze fests who repeatedly find yourselves leaving the theater more zombified than the ones on screen...I submit [REC]. If this film doesn't wring you out and leave you to dry, then you simply have no scary bone.
Yes it is another foray into cinema verite, but this one does it juuuust right. Goldilocks would be proud if she wasn't so busy mopping up the mess she made in her chair.
We follow perky journalist, Angela and her faithful cameraman, Pablo as they go off to spend the night at the local fire station for their public interest show "While You're Sleeping." The idea is that they will learn what goes on over the course of an average evening for the daring firefighters and perhaps even get to go along on a call. Well it kind of goes like that. They do get to go on a call but this night is anything but average.
The trucks take them to an apartment house where a neighbor has reported screaming. The police have already arrived. Shortly after Angela and crew get there, the building is sealed off for quarantine and no one is explaining why. By the time you find out what is going on, you will wish like hell you didn't know.
The buildup is steady but the climax is nothing short of a terrifying ride through the most adrenaline charged carnival haunted house you will ever visit without being there. Your pulse will pound, your heart will race and you will beg for mercy before the end. I may seem a little too aglow about this project but forgive me for it's fresh in my mind and I am still shaking. I find myself looking behind me at the slightest sound and I fear it will be a while before I venture into a dark room alone...hell with anyone.
If you think you don't like the verite style, give it a chance anyway. This is by far the best example of how it's done. If you don't like zombie horror, you may just be changing your mind. This is unlike anything you have ever seen. And it is easily one of the most frightening films I have ever laid eyes on. As much as I love Uncle George and all he does, I have to admit that this stomps Diary of the Dead scare for scare without trying hard.
It's not a big film. The location is isolated to one place and we meet all the characters rather quickly but [REC] proves that you don't need big to be flat-out scary. As with all films of this nature, the camera may or may not be on what you want to be seeing, but you get to see everything you should. And for once, I am pleased to report that there is none of that "but why do we still have the camera going?" You won't question it, you won't even care. But even if you do, it will make sense.
Co-written by Jaume Balaguero and Luis Berdejo and co-directed by Balaguero and Paco Plaza, [REC] is a masterpiece of mindfuck and a breath of fresh air to strung out horror addicts the world over.
Later this year we will be treated to the American remake starring Jennifer Carpenter (Exorcism of Emily Rose and Dexter). I will withhold judgment until I see it but if John Erick Dowdle's attempt comes anywhere near being the no-holds-barred, pulse-pounding thriller of its Spanish counterpart, we may just finally catch something worthwhile in the theater this year.