Directed By: Jaume Balagueró, Paco Plaza
Starring: Manuela Velasco, Ferran Terraza, Jorge-Yamam Serrano
Tag line: "Just One Witness.... A Video Camera"
Trivia: Made and shot in real locations. No sets were built to make this movie
Reporter Angela Vidal (Manuela Velasco) and her cameraman, Pablo (Pablo Rossa, who’s never seen), are on assignment at a Barcelona fire station, where they hope to capture footage of the brave firefighters in action. The two ride along on an emergency call from a tenement complex, where an elderly woman is supposedly trapped in her apartment. But what they find once they get there is a situation far more dangerous. It seems the woman, Mrs. Izquierdo (Martha Carbonell), is also acting violently, and, in the confusion, mauls a police officer. What’s more, when the firemen attempt to transport the injured cop to the hospital, they find they’ve been locked inside the building, with a military unit stationed outside to ensure nobody leaves the premises. As everyone, including the tenants, tries to figure out what’s going on, the wounded policeman suddenly attacks, acting every bit as crazy as the old lady. As it turns out, a deadly virus, which transforms normal people into ravenous killers, is loose in the building, and by locking everything down, the authorities hope to prevent its spread. One by one, the unfortunate few trapped inside succumb to the illness, and if Angela, Pablo and the others don’t find a way out soon, odds are they won’t survive much longer.
A 2007 Spanish horror film, [REC] was shot as if it were a documentary, with the entire story unfolding in front of Pablo’s camera. This brings a level of realism to the movie, thus heightening the anxiety as more and more people become raving lunatics. In one scene, a young girl named Jennifer (Claudia Font), who, when interviewed by Angela, said she wasn’t feeling well, unexpectedly lashes out, attacking her mother (Maria Lanau) before running upstairs and disappearing into the darkness. Like others who’ve become infected, Jennifer is now hiding somewhere in the building, which only intensifies the suspense as the remaining few, who are not yet sick, search for an exit, realizing danger might be waiting for them around every corner.
[REC] isn’t overly bloody, but the violence it does feature is effective, mostly because it happens so abruptly and catches us off-guard (some of the infected “turn” more quickly than others). A fast-paced film with an almost unbearably tense final sequence, [REC] is a terrific horror movie.