Sunday, October 9, 2022

#2,832. [REC] 2 (2009)


2007’s [REC] was, for me, one of the best horror films of the new millennium’s first decade. Released a couple of years later, [REC]2 picked up where the first film left off while, at the same time, taking the story in a completely new - and entirely satisfying - direction.

With the building from the first film still under quarantine, a heavily-armed police unit under the command of Chief Fernandez (Oscar Sanchez Zafra) is sent in to assess the situation. They are accompanied by Dr. Owen (Jonathan Mellor) from the Ministry of Health, who is put in charge of the entire operation.

While searching for survivors, Fernandez and his team, which includes officers Martos (Alejandro Casaseca), Larra (Areil Cassa), and Rosso (Pablo Rosso), realize something very strange is going on, and the “survivors” may be suffering from more than a deadly infection. But with Owen in complete control, and the only one who can decide when the mission is over, the officers have no choice but to do as he says, hoping the entire time that they’ll somehow survive this terrifying ordeal.

As with the initial film, [REC]2 utilizes a found-footage approach; Officer Fernandez and his men wear helmets equipped with cameras, and have been ordered by Owen to “document everything”. In addition, a trio of teenagers (played by Pau Poch, Andrea Ros, and Alex Batllori) with their own camera sneak into the building through a sewer system, looking for excitement but getting much more than they bargained for. I liked how writers / directors Jaume Balaguero and Paco Plaza blended the footage from the various cameras together, using sequences shot by one to “fill in the blanks” left by another.

Where [REC]2 really distinguishes itself, however, is in its storyline, taking the “infection” from the first film and adding a supernatural element. As it turns out, there’s more than a virus at play; demons are involved, and the Vatican itself has taken a personal interest in the situation. While this may seem like a major shift in the series’ mythology, it works all the same, and is handled well enough that I was on-board with it from the start.

I’d still rank the original [REC] a bit higher on the fright meter; the jump scares in the sequel, as well as the tension the movie generates, are effective, if not entirely fresh. But by upping the ante story-wise, [REC]2 establishes itself as a worthy follow-up to the original film, and I’m betting that, when seen back-to-back, these two movies will pack one hell of a wallop!
Rating: 8.5 out of 10

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