11.17.2011

REC 2


REC 2 (2009) is a sequel (more of a continuation really, since the chronology aligns directly with that of its predecessor) that moves swiftly and brutally toward a terrifying conclusion. This Spanish horror film marries demonic possession with zombie-esque creatures and a viral contagion. It sounds like a crazy salad (and perhaps a bit too much), but directors Jaume Balaguero and Paco Plaza manage to tie it all together effectively.

Exposition is spare, as a SWAT team enters a contaminated Barcellona apartment complex to assist a "medical" official with his investigation of the strange outbreak that has afflicted the complex. We see the camaraderie of the team and learn the chain of command, and then they arrive at the scene and it's through a plastic barrier and straight into hell.

Jonathon Mellor plays Dr. Owen with aplomb. It's a one-note performance (he makes a grimace awfully well), but it's remarkably intense. His turn is really the focal point for characterization, and the rest of it is a claustrophobic search, going from room to room (which may or may not be inhabited by the demon-things) in search of a vial of blood.

There is a particularly frightening scene that unfolds in a heating duct, and a terrific sequence that pays the viewer's time off nicely in the final scenes.

It's not hard to recognize this film as the European penpal of the underrated Quarantine (2008). Both make good use of the perspective shots rendered with hand-held cameras. It's participatory filmmaking, and lends a level of authenticity to the proceedings. I give it a solid 'B' and recommend that horror fans give it a shot. It's better than 98% of the stuff that's been released in the last year...

Speaking of films that use that technique of visual narrative, I read a review of Trollhunter (2010) in my Fantasy & Science Fiction and I'm definitely intrigued...

Immortals (2011) was a bit of a letdown. Overlong and unnecessarily stylized (in places), this film lacked the mise-en-scene that made 300 (2006) such an unexpected success. 'C-'...


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