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Rec - Review

Rec

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: The Making of Rec; Crew interviews; Extended scenes; Deleted scenes; Behind-the-scenes footage; UK Theatrical Trailer; UK TV Spots; Castings and Key Art.

SPANISH horror masters Juame Balaguero and Paco Plaza have delivered another full throttle chill-ride in Rec, a film so good they’re already working on the Hollywood remake.

Using the same hand-held style as Cloverfield, but benefitting from a much more intimate feel and setting, this is a pulse-quickening, nerve-shredding journey into terror that barely lets you catch your breath for the duration of its 75 minute running time.

The film picks up as enthusiastic reporter Angela (Manuela Velasco) and her unseen camera-man prepare for a night shadowing a group of firemen for her late night TV show.

Thrill-seeking Angela wants nothing more than a night of adventure, but gets more than she bargained for when the fire crew receives a call to help a woman stranded in a flat and quickly find themselves in the middle of a quarantine situation.

The elderly woman in question is clearly demented but when she bites one of her rescuers, it’s only the beginning of a nightmarish descent into hell that offers little chance of escape for Angela, the firemen or the occupants still trapped in the building by the authorities outside.

But what is going on? And will Angela and company live to tell the tale?

Balaguero and Plaza expertly balance some jump-out-of-your-seat scares with insights into the mystery, whilst also cranking up the tension to almost unbearable levels as the situation worsens.

They also make imaginative use of the camera angles, as selected by their unseen newsman, so that you feel as much a part of the situation as the protagonists themselves.

When the jumps do come, they are really well concealed, while the final revelation is guaranteed to send shivers down the spine.

Credit, too, must go to the cast, whose performances perfectly encapsulate the fear, frustration and paranoia of their situation. You’ll root for them to survive, even though you’ll become frustrated by some of their decision-making.

It remains to be seen whether Hollywood can do justice to Balaguero and Plaza’s tightly wound vision (and one suspects they won’t) but Rec deserves to be seen in its pure, breathless original form where the unrelenting bleakness hasn’t been tarnished by any need for crowd-pleasing.

It is a must-see for film fans, whether you dig horror or not.

In Spanish, with subtitles

Certificate: 18
Running time: 75mins
UK DVD Release: August 11, 2008

  1. Take this reviewer’s advice and see it in Spanish form. An American remake is on the way, called Quarantine, and it’s certain to be ruined… even though the girl from Dexter is starring in it!

    Bryan    Aug 18    #