“The light blinds you”
I’m sure that writer/directors Jaume Balaguero & Paco Plaza must have asked themselves on more than one occasion the question “How the hell do we follow [REC]?” Released in 2007, [REC] was a masterclass in atmosphere, tension & jump out of your seat scares. One of the best horror films of the last two decades, [REC] is damn near perfect. Making a sequel was never going to be easy. fortunately Balaguero & Plaza returned to do the sequel & delivered a film that remains respectful of its predessor but expands on the themes of the first movie. If you haven’t seen [REC] I would suggest you stop reading & watch the movie first as there will be spoilers from the first movie in this review.
The movie picks up the timeline just as the first film is ending. A team of SWAT style armed police enter the sealed building accompanied by Dr Owen from The Ministry Of Health. Each of the officer’s helmets are fitted with cameras. As they encounter some of the infected, Owen uses a rosary & bible quotes to subdue them. To the police squad’s surprise Owen is actually a priest. He has been sent in by The Vatican to get a sample of the Madeiros girl’s blood. The team head to the penthouse where they find a sample of blood taken by the original priest, this bursts into flame & leaves them no choice but to find the Medeiros girl to obtain the sample. At the same time, outside Jennifer’s father & the remaining fireman head to a sewer manhole in the next street & use it to access the building. They are followed by 3 teenagers, who are spotted by the authorities & the manhole is sealed after them, trapping themselves, the fireman & Jennifer’s father inside the building.
First off to answer the simple question is [REC]2 as good as [REC]? The answer is no it isn’t. That’s not to say that [REC]2 is a bad movie, it’s not. In fact it’s a very good movie, it’s just that [REC] truly was THAT good. Following the action through the cameras of the SWAT team keeps the feel of the first film & Pablo’s camera. Sadly the film does have a couple of weaknesses. The characters are nowhere near as well-defined as they were in the original. In the beginning it is quite hard to keep track of who is who as far as the SWAT team goes, they all have the same uniform, guns & helmets on. The other problem is the introduction of the 3 teenagers. They are hastily introduced for what seems like no reason & then thrown straight into the apartment building. There is a moment in this sequel when as a first time viewer you will either buy into a plot development or tune out. This is when it is revealed by Owen that the infected are actually possessed. personally I had no problem with this plotline but I have spoken to a few friends who loved the first movie but found this to be a huge flaw in the sequel.
I must admit to being very apprehensive when I first watched this film as I loved the original so much. It could have so easily been a huge disappointment. fortunately its a worthy sequel, not quite up to [REC]‘s high standards but good none the less. There are two new sequels in production, [REC] Genesis, a prequel being directed by Paco Plaza & [REC] Apocalypse, a sequel being directed by Jaume Balaguero set after the end of [REC]2. Personally I cannot wait to see these movies, this could be a wonderful franchise. Recommended.