I’m not a fan of American horror movies. When it comes to horror movies, it is usually the case that American’s are cheap knockoffs of an earlier original usually from Japan. Japan (especially during the 2000’s as I’ve noticed) has produced some of the best cult classics of early 21st century horror movies that are overlooked because of the box office success of their crappy American remakes (The Grudge is originally Ju-On. The Ring is Ringu, etc.) But now as the 21st century is in full swing, other countries are taking notice and making leaps and bounds with their original works (such as France, Spain, and Korea.) “REC” is a work from Spain that is the original from an American adaptation “Quarantine.”
The story begins with a young reporter shooting takes for her variety show. This episode is about the life and runnings of firemen in a firehouse. The beginning and buildup is a bit slow but when an alarm does eventually go off, the host rides with them to answer a call about a minor disturbance of an elderly woman needing medical attention in an apartment complex. But everything quickly turns to chaos when the elderly woman attacks a police officer and firefighter. Almost immediately after, SWAT and the health department inexplicably quarantines everyone inside.
In all honesty, it is a very cliché concept but there are several points I must make before writing off this movie.
First of all, it is a very unique and purposefully unknown cast including actress Manuela Velasco who plays the host of the variety show looked extremely comfortable playing the part of variety show host and that’s because in real life she is the host of her own show in her native Spain. (And FYI, she is GORGEOUS!) It does have a very “Cloverfield” element to it as the entire film is shot on a hand-held and it gives you a first-person view of the entire film which really does give off the element that you are one of the residents stuck inside with them. It’s almost interactive. However since the hand-held work is done by the cameraman of the show, the shot generally maintains steady and won’t make you dizzy, even during suspenseful chase scenes. During filming the actors were only given pieces of the script at a time as the whole movie was shot chronologically which made all the actors oblivious as to what was going to happen next and it certainly assisted them in making it look very real.
The whole movie was shot in original locations in Barcelona which gives a much more realistic tone and feeling to the whole experience. I know that generally you’re not supposed to be able to tell these things or they shouldn’t matter, but the fact that I know that made the whole experience of watching the movie that much more “realistic” to me.
A relatively short movie of under 90 minutes, yet it is still packed with crazy suspense, twists, and surprises that I very much enjoyed. Apparently there’s also a sequel already out which I plan on viewing and reviewing soon. If you like horror films, this one you gotta check out.