Review by Jack Foley
JAUME Balagueró and Paco Plaza’s original [Rec] became a Spanish horror sensation that spawned an almost immediate Hollywood remake (Quarantine).
It combined a Blair Witch-style approach with some claustrophobic tension and zombie-style chills that took a last act turn towards the supernatural/religious.
Its sequel expands on this last act sequence as well as upping the ante considerably.
It still unfolds in hand-held style and bombards you with shocks, but in doing so it also adopts an Aliens meets The Exorcist approach that raises the terror level, while diminishing the emotional factor.
Picking up minutes after the original, [Rec] 2 still unfolds within the confines of the infected apartment that provided the focus of the original and finds its central characters – a SWAT team and a medical officer – searching for the evil host as well as a blood sample that might offer a cure.
It also cuts to a trio of teens who decide to break into the apartment to find out what all the fuss is about.
As sequels go, it’s mostly successful while following many of the conventions of the ‘sequel’ format – ie, more deaths, more action, less interesting characterisation.
Balagueró and Plaza play really well with the various hand-held formats, adopting a first-person shooter approach at times to lend the SWAT team a game-style feel, as well as ensuring the various feeds of the SWAT members are relayed back to viewers in eye-catching fashion.
There are also shocks aplenty, a couple of neat twists and some intriguing reveals that dwell on religion and the supernatural.
The inclusion of the teens threatens to derail the film, and really does feel like padding, but it still unfolds at a breathless pace and the co-directors bring things back on course for a grandstanding finale that sets things up for an even more expansive third movie (which is already on its way).
Hence, while [Rec] 2 may not be as original or as completely effective as its superior predecessor, it still remains a cut above most Hollywood horror films and makes the prospect of a third film an appealing prospect.
In Spanish, with subtitles
Running time: 84mins
UK DVD & Blu-ray Release: September 20, 2010