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[Rec] (2007)

  Tags: blood, Jaume Balagueró, Paco Plaza, spain, spanish, zombie-ish, [rec]

Your rating: None Average: 7.8 (22 votes)
Reviewer Rating: 
7

rec.jpg
Rating #: 
7/10
Director: 
Jaume Balagueró, Paco Plaza
Runtime: 
85 minutes
Cast: 
Manuela Velasco, Vicente Gil, Pablo Rosso, Ferran Terraza, Claudia Font, Manuel Bronchud, Martha Carbonell, María Teresa Ortega, Carlos Vicente, David Vert, Jorge Serrano


This is the latest film from two Spanish directors that continues the P.O.V. camera theme that seems to be new the thing in movies now-a-days. Not only is it a cheap way to put out a film, but if done right, it can also offer some decent scares, given the realism it can deliver that mainstream features generally can't. I'm not too familiar with Paco Plaza, but I've followed Jaume Balagueró since his first film, The Nameless, back in '99. He always seemed like someone to keep an eye on, even though his movies aren't all that great, they are at least interesting and somewhat original.

In the film we follow an ambitious young reporter named Angela, who's the host of a late night television program, who along with her cameraman, decide to feature the latest episode on firefighters and what they do when they're on the job. After spending most of the night with the men (watching their usual routine of relaxing and waiting for a call), the siren finally roars, and Angela and her cameraman are off to the scene. On their way to an apartment building, the firemen know little of what they're actually called out for, but once there, they discover that there's no fire, but an old woman is in some sort of distress in one of the upper floors.

Following the firemen, Angela and the rest of the crew are witness to what seems to a bloody and very violent and hysterical old woman. It doesn't take long for them to realize that something's off about some of the tenants in the upper floors and before they can find out what exactly is going on, they're sealed inside the building, with word from authorities on the outside that the building and those inside it are quarantined and not to leave the premises. Now, not only are the survivors stuck in with a group of infectious rage-induced violent psychopaths, but there appears to be no escape. Angela and her cameraman capture all the details, unraveling clues of what's happening along the way.

I've seen a handful of P.O.V. camera-themed films, but this is probably the worst, in terms of keeping the camera clear, well lit, and steady. In fact, there are a lot of scenes that spend a little too long being either too dark or too blurry. Although, I understand that they tried to capture everything as real as possible, I would think that an experienced cameraman would know how to fix a blurry scene in a matter of seconds. I guess I can excuse some of it to being in danger, but it seriously ruins a number of potentially scary scenes. There's also a lot of shaky camera business, but I had a harder time dealing with the blurry or dark ones to even care whether the camera was steady or not. You'll probably often find yourself wondering what you're actually looking at, especially when the action finally kicks in.

That's pretty much my only gripe about the movie. The rest of the film is pretty solid in my book, although it does get a little slow in the halfway point, but that's only to establish the situation and characters, so it's excusable. So what the hell is causing everyone to become like this? Taking cues from 28 Days Later, it's apparently some sort of mutated form of the rabies virus, causing its victims to become filled with rage. The virus can be transmitted with the saliva, so naturally those bitten also become infected, and depending on their blood type, the symptoms can occur in a matter of minutes or a matter of hours.

Like I said before, the film had a chance to offer a series of potentially scary scenes, but thanks to the lack of lighting and blurry camerawork, we're left with only a lot of yelling and screaming. However, the ending is probably one of the scariest moments in the movie, and we're luckily given a somewhat clear shot of what's happening. The film couldn't have ended any better, in my opinion. The US remake was greenlit shortly after the original started to get publicity, so expect to catch that in October of this year. I'm sure it'll offer scenes that'll be easier to see, so I'm not entirely opposed of the remake, but whether it'll actually be scary or not remains to be seen.

Although the movie is good, many of its scenes suffer from being either too dark, out of focus, or just damn shaky, so a lot of potentially scary scenes are lost. Even though this is one of the worst P.O.V. films I've seen in terms of giving the audience a clear view of what's happening, it's still remains as one of the best in the sub-genre. So, if you can sit through all that mess, you'll be given an entertaining watch, with a somewhat chilling climax. Check this one out whenever you get a chance.

Posted on July 3, 2009 - 7:16pm | FrighT MasteR

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