Saturday, 29 May 2010

Klaatu barada [•REC] 2

[•REC] 2 2010 Spain
Directed by Jaume Balagueró
and Paco Plaza
Screening at cinemas now

In the words of River Song... this blog will contain “spoilers”. Spoilers! Got that! Spoilery, spoilery spoilers.

So, if you want to go into [•REC] 2 without knowing anything about it... don’t read this page. But please, come back and read it after you’ve seen the movie? Pretty please?

OK. I really liked the first [•REC] movie, and I’ll tell you why... but first I have to say up front that, to me, like 28 Days Later and 28 Weeks Later, I consider [•REC] and [•REC 2] to be zombie movies. Why do I consider these films to be zombie movies? Well, firstly, they’re obviously hugely influenced by the more fashionable strand of zombie movies proliferated by directors such as Romero and Fulci. Secondly, they seem to display and play with the long established traits of the survival horror genre which traces its lineage back to those specific styles of zombie films. And thirdly because they are, in fact, reanimated corpses. You could, of course, quite legitimately argue that in this case they are demonically possessed souls out for a quick apocalypse and a friend of mine did argue just that in the pub after the movie... but let’s face it Jake, you have to be bitten and die off and be infected with the zombieistic virus before that happens so it’s still basically following the rules.

Besides which... weren’t Lamberto Bava’s Demons 1 and 2 basically just zombie movies?

Right, so now I’ve firmly established that [•REC] and [•REC] 2 both belong in my new “quasi-religious zombie” genre... I can continue my train of thought ;-)

So, as I was saying, I really liked the first [•REC] because it was a zombie movie that was, for once, actually genuinely scary. I mean lets face it, most zombie movies are really not scary movies and are presumably not designed to be. They’re basically just body-count style action movies with a little extra gore and cannibalism thrown in. And, to be fair, the [•REC] movies have their fair share of that element too... but the first one is also generally intense and scary.

Now... I hate to admit this but, the second [•REC] film is really not scary like the first one was... and it does have one terrible flaw... but other than that I have to say that I did find it really entertaining. Zombie movies may not be scary but they do have a kind of restful predictability to them so that you can let your brain relax and do some extra thinking to them.

[•REC] 2 uses exactly the same building that the crew shot in for the first one (it was used a couple of years ago in an episode of a Spanish horror TV show and it pretty much looked the same there too... think it might even have had the same directors). Anyhow, it’s pretty much been redressed to show the aftermath of the first movie. This film starts off with the army going into accompany a “doctor” into the building giving us the promise that this movie might be to [•REC] what ALIENS was to A L I E N. Thankfully it doesn’t make the same mistakes that ALIENS did and we are left with a piece of moviemaking that is still very much “low-budget independent” as opposed to Spainywood blockbuster.

At the start of the film the last shot from the first movie is replayed, giving the audience the impression that the events start a short time after. However, right near the end of the movie, just after something which is, unfortunately, way too obvious to be a proper twist is “revealed”, we find out that the time frame is actually located so that this movie starts about ten to fifteen minutes before the final scene of the last movie.

As I said, there is one really bad thing in this movie and it is this... instead of sending in a crack professional military team as the film would have you believe, they have instead sent in crappy Hollywood-movie style soldiers... that is to say, soldiers who get angry very quickly when confronted by things they don’t understand... and then make every stupid Hollywood-soldier mistake in the book and endanger all their lives needlessly because they let themselves be ruled by their emotions. Yes, these are the typical movie soldiers you would never want to accompany you for protection if you need to go into a zombie infested building.

That being said though, there is plenty to like in this movie. They’ve really played up that religious angle which they threw in for the last quarter of an hour of the first movie (and which, I am told, was eliminated from the American version) and run with it here. When the “doctor” is revealed to be a priest with the secret mission to bring back the original “possessed” childs blood so an antidote can be made, things get very interesting. Blood that reacts in a combustible fashion to the holy cross, zombies which channel the original demonically possessed girl so they can have Father Merrin-style conversations with the priest... zombies which back off when trapped by rosaries and recited religious verse. Some camera shennaniganary to demonstrate that there are two plains of existence within the penthouse of the building. You might think that the overabundance of this kind of material would spoil things somewhat but the way it is handled here is very credible and it is indeed a pretty good “take” on the merging of the zombie genre with the demonic-possession genre...

There’s a slight weak point about halfway through when the camera is killed and we resee some of the events of the last three quarters of an hour from a different perspective via a different camera following another set of characters... who then catch up to the original characters and pick up the story again... but this is just a small irritant.

The ending of the first movie gave us a strong possibility for a sequel through its last quarter of an hour. This time around the last 5 minutes provides us with a very definitive nod to a third movie with a very definite promise that things will need to be upscaled perhaps to Cloverfield proportions... so if they are planning to do a third one, well, budget wise they're going to need a bigger boat!

All in all then, [•REC] 2 is a good, solid, entertaining horror picture... so if you like that kind of thing then rush to see it!


  1. Well I had more than the basic opinion as to why REC and now REC 2 are NOT zombie movies even wayyyyyyyyyy back in 2008 with the original release of REC that you could only warrant a sparse amount of space as to my opinion. I am insulted that you could only use me as a dumbed down sounding board to argue your views on these two films.
    Thanks very much
    Most appreciate


  2. Sorry Jake. I didn't mean to offend you and I certainly wasn't using you as a sounding board, dumbed down or otherwise. Was supposed to be a friendly nod and a inclusion of your opinion. Perhaps you should take another look at it and read it for what it is rather than bringing any baggage with you. So apologies if I've somehow managed to offend you.
    Let me know if you want me to take your name out of the post. I honestly don't know why you are so bothered.

    Hope you have had a good day.