Monday, June 14, 2010

A Frank Review of "[●REC]" (2007)

The Short Version? 27 Days Earlier... in an isolated building... zombies attack.
What Is It? Survival Horror.
Who Is In It? Spaniards
Should I See It? Yes.

The better modern zombie movies have two things in common: fast monsters and exhilarating first quarters. Dawn of the Dead offered its opening ten minutes online, making it one of the most badass trailers of all time, because who didn’t crave more after that? Of course, the movie couldn’t sustain that momentum, and most of the characters, once properly introduced, proved rather unlikable. Regardless, it was still good stuff, and sustained the heat zombies had picked a few years prior.

[rec], on the other hand, is like extending that prologue to full length (though not quite feature length, coming in at just over one-and-a-quarter hours.) It’s about a television crew working on a puff piece finding themselves trapped in an apartment building with a deeply unhealthy element. After a deliberate build, mayhem erupts that runs through the end of the picture. The cast is made up of unknowns who speak in brief bursts of dialogue, and you really don’t get to know anyone. There’s a cute, toothy reporter that’s a bit more polished than the rest, and though clearly ambitious and somewhat opportunistic, she never beats the audience over the head with her character flaws. The true point of view character is the cameraman Pablo, through whose lens the viewer sees the proceedings, essentially turning the film into a virtual first person experience. That makes for a harrowing trip, as finding oneself in the path of mindless humans moving with the speed and ferocity of the rage carriers in 28 Days Later will twist your panties up tight.

It’s typically a backhanded compliment to refer to a film in “thrill ride” terms, but in the most glowing sense, [REC] is just that. When The Blair Witch Project was being ridiculously over-hyped, this was the movie everyone was expecting to see. [REC] is easily one of the finest straight horror movies of the past few decades, and will likely earn a place on a great many "all time greatest" lists. See it in the dark with someone you trust...


  • REC: Making ofA fast paced documentary running a bit under 19 minutes gives you all the information you need about the production, from the actors not knowing what they were in store for due to having scripts withheld until the start of each chronological shot day, to real time takes lasting twenty minutes and from the ground to the roof. All killer, no filler.
  • Previews Not as bad as you might think for something like a dozen b-grade horror trailers, including the U.S. remake of this flick

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