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Rec 2 (2009, Spain)

10/03/2011

Directors: Jaume Balaguero, Paco Plaza    Starring:  Jonathon Mellor, Oscar Zafra, Ariel Casas

Set fifteen minutes after the credits rolled on the original Rec this could have easily gone either way. The first film was a successful exercise in crafty film making and a great example of how to set up and deliver scares. To simply repeat this formula again however would have doomed a sequel to failure. The question of how you follow it with something new but still keep the elements that made the original so good is answered quite comprehensively in Rec 2.

This time around the hapless interlopers who find themselves in a Barcelona apartment block that is rapidly going to hell in a hand basket are a team of special ops cops who have been assigned to provide security for a doctor who needs access to the building in order to assess the risk of the biohazard within. As you might expect they are utterly unprepared for the mayhem that awaits them.

As far as feel goes, if you think of Rec as Alien (civilians find themselves trapped inside a structure along with a deadly threat) then Rec 2 is Aliens (well equipped, dangerous professionals find themselves trapped inside a structure along with a deadly threat). The level of action is ramped up, the sense of menace increased, the pace quickened.

Most importantly, the story is advanced in Rec 2. It’s not just a rehash of the original only this time with some guns. The plot develops. Questions raised in the first part are answered. I’d like to say more but I have to tiptoe around the spoilers for both films here.

The found footage style has remained, this time introducing multiple cameras for added effect thanks to the hardware of the SWAT team. Once again, great thought has gone into how these cameras have been utilised resulting in some exciting and often impressive shots. There is a danger that the constant reliance on this effect could become boring and repetitive but the film makers get round this by mainting the tension and action leaving you little time to worry about cameras.

The action takes place in darkness as the power to the building has been cut, leaving the only light sources those carried by the team of cops and the occasional sweep of searchlights from outside. This is employed to great effect for building the claustrophobic atmosphere and setting up the scares. It certainly managed to keep me on my toes.

The other impressive thing about the film is that considering the amount of time that passed between them, the look and feel of the locations and sets has been preseved perfectly, even down to the blood soaked stairwells and the remains of the action from the previous film. This has been achieved so completely that you often feel as though you are watching a direct continuation of the original film rather than a sequel, a clear testament to the love and care that has been lavished on it.

Considering that this could easily have been little more than a direct repeat of the original Rec (and would probably not have suffered financially for it) it’s something of a miracle that Rec 2 turned out as a rare thing indeed – a horror sequel that not only matches the original for shocks and scares but manages to progress the story in its own way rather than just reheating it for mindless consumption. You would certainly be hard pushed to come up with a better double bill for a night’s scary viewing with any other horror franchise from the last ten years.

Incidentally, if you haven’t seen the first Rec it is absolutely essential that you do before you watch Rec 2 and don’t watch the trailer below as it contains minor spoilers for the first film. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. jjjjjj permalink
    12/01/2015 14:53

    This film is made in 2009…

    • 28/02/2015 14:54

      You’re quite right, I’ve fixed the error, thanks for pointing it out. Got muddled up with the UK release date.

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