The Short Version? 27 Weeks Earlier... in an isolated building... zombies attack.
What Is It? Survival Horror.
Who Is In It? Spaniards
Should I See It? No.
Like The Blair Witch Project, [*REC] was a single camera movie in which the lens served as a proxy for the viewer’s virtual involvement in the proceedings. [REC] traded on the sense of the film being recorded live and in a reality too near to our own for comfort. Like The Blair Witch Project 2: Book of Shadows, [*REC]2 is a glossy Hollywood sequel that chucks everything that worked about the first film out the window so that the filmmakers could prove they were capable of hacking out the usual bullshit. Instead of a low-res real time environment, [rec2] is a multi-player first person shooter with shifting vantage points, flashbacks, and techno-tomfoolery.
A big part of what made [REC] work was its simplicity. Common everyday people found themselves in an extraordinary, terrifying circumstance. Tension built slowly, until the levees broke, and then the situation became bad topped by worse along a progressive trip through the infernal. The characters didn’t need to be developed, because they were, like you, innocents caught in a harrowing ordeal folks could sympathize with. [REC2] begins fifteen minutes after the conclusion of the original, in which a SWAT team enters a building full of 28 Days Later… Rage rejects to investigate the cause of a viral outbreak. Instead of taking the audience with them, the viewer is a passive spectator in a video game movie derivative of Aliens and Dawn of the Dead. The perspective camera constantly changes, gets dropped on its side, loses sound, blinks out-- incessantly reminding the audience they're watching various recordings from a prior time. Only one of the SWAT team members exhibits any personality, and that one is of an obnoxiously over-reactive nature, so the rest are essentially the players’ various “lives” in progressing through the game. First time players, I should say, because everyone in this flick is a nimrod of the type audiences impatiently wait to see die for their stupidity. Could someone please explain to bad "comedy" and "scary" movie directors that the only response having your actors shouting all their lines invokes is a desire for them to shut. the fuck. up?
One of the most common faults of horror movie sequels is to build on an ongoing mythology. The more familiar you are with something, the less frightening it is, and the better equipped you are to deal with it. Even if crosses or garlic fail to kill your particular vampire, just keep going down the checklist until you find something foolproof. Once you demystify a threat, you remove much of the horror, and are left with a fantasy or science fiction story. In [REC,} one of the more effective reveals toward the end of the picture was the true nature of the contagion. [REC]2 picks up from that point, and then negates its impact with a litany of direct swipes from other pictures/familiar mythos. “Your mother sucks cocks in Hell” is easily repurposed, as are visual ticks from the last decade of Japanese horror exports. Even [Rec]’s own technique of still creatures suddenly rushing the camera is abused so often and reproduced so exactingly that it begins to feel more like a replay than anything to shriek at.
[REC] 2 is a predictable franchise killing knock off of a shitload of other movies, right up to its unsurprising “twist” ending. If you found yourself haunted by [REC], this sequel is the perfect antidote, as it effectively neutralize any residual impact of the original. Unless you've been anxiously anticipating a truly faithful screen adaptation of House of the Dead, leave this lie.
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