REC 2 Review
Written by: deadhorse13
After having watched the Spanish spine-chiller [REC] for the first time, I immediately regretted the experience. Not through any fault of the film itself, however. It was for the simple fact that I knew the rush it gave me would lessen with each subsequent viewing. Having now weathered that storm a good number of times, I'm still emphatic on it being one of the most thrilling rides of the past decade. It wasn't that the story was so terribly unique, or that the characters were so unnaturally absorbing. No. It was primarily the immediacy of events, the spectacle of it all, and how it was presented. All these things hold up to repeated visits in my opinion, but sure enough a little of that initial magic is missing. It was for that reason that I highly anticipated a return to [REC]'s world for what would hopefully be another cinematic sucker-punch on par with the original. So the question now begs - does it succeed?
[REC]2 starts immediately from where we left off, or should I say where Angela got dragged off. The focus then quickly shifts to some anxious SWAT team members about to enter the quarantined building. Before they infiltrate the area, a Minister of Health shows up on the scene to direct operations. Instructed to comb the place in search of a particular blood sample, the unit is kept in the dark to the real nature of what's transpiring until tensions force the official to admit he's working for a higher power. A much higher power. As things progress we learn more about the origin of the virus, the effect it has on its victims, and what must be done to contain and neutralize the outbreak. Some pesky youngsters unknowingly stumble into the chaos midway to add another dynamic to the proceedings, too. Fear and desperation soon envelops all those involved in the violent struggle for survival.
Directors Balagueró and Plaza know a good thing when they see it. Even if it's shaken and stirred to almost dizzying effect. Where the entirety of the first film was seen through one lens, here multiple vantages seemingly help things careen along at an even quicker pace. No easy feat. The officers are all equipped with helmet-cams in addition to a remote cameraman who follows them. Additionally, the trespassing teens are camera-friendly as well, to add yet another perspective; and we eventually witness the remaining footage captured by Angela and Manu in the first film. Visually, it almost becomes sensory overload at points. Viewing it on the small screen made certain moments feel like I was witnessing gameplay as opposed to a film. Nevertheless, what you do get to see plainly should keep you riveted throughout.
When held up to the original, it is chiefly in the characters and our attachment to them that the sequel firmly pales. The claustrophobic atmosphere is still tightly contained despite the expanding of the narrative, the cast and its visual scope; however, we're just waiting for these guys to get pounced on in a moment's notice and go all apeshit. And so it goes. We're never afforded much time with anyone in particular aside from the health official, who is not the most inviting sort; moreover, all the satellite players are very one-dimensional in their own portrayals. There are also a couple of scenes that took me out of the proceedings entirely; a complaint I cannot levy whatsoever at [REC]. Thankfully the story itself is just as involving, if not more so, as it widens the mythology. The true origin of this phenomena and how it's ultimately handled did feel a little predictable, but it was satisfying and kept me in suspense. The scares still come, and fast, they just feel a little more contrived now.
I'm actually almost embarrassed to admit that I'd welcome another sequel. That has to count as a fairly freaking positive accolade to [REC]2's credit, no? Well at least that's my point of view.
(7.5 on the gray scale)