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When it comes to horror movies, I'm sure most of you will agree with me when I say it is almost impossible to find a truly decent one. I've more or less given up on mainstream titles, and turned my eyes toward the independent and foreign film markets. This has turned out very fruitful, as I can say that almost every single film I've seen has been dark, chilling and downright terrifying - everything a horror film should be. The recent Dimension Extreme release Inside proved to be one of the darkest horror films I've seen in years, and I doubted if I'd see another one like it for some time. That is until I came across a little film titled [Rec].
Review by Tristan
Added: May 05, 2008
Tonight's film begins with Angela (Manuela Velasco), the host of a documentary TV series While You're Asleep, and her cameraman Marcos (Pablo Rosso) following a group of Barcelona firefighters during their nightly routine. They interview the fire chief, join the men in their dinner, and nothing much happens until they receive a call that an old lady is trapped in her apartment. After meeting up with police at the scene, they force themselves into the apartment to find a crazed elderly woman, screaming and covered in blood. While trying to calm her down, one of the police officers is viciously attacked by the woman, and is brought downstairs with the hopes of getting an ambulance. The group soon realizes that the building has been quarantined because of a BNC (Biological/Nuclear/Chemical) hazard, and will remain this way until a health inspector can get inside and give the all clear. As the group tends to the wounded police officer, another person is violently attacked, and soon everyone is fighting for their survival as the virus spreads from person to person, turning the infected into violent, enraged killers.
When I first heard the title for this movie, and saw the posters, I assumed it was just another torture film done with the hand held camera to give it a more realistic feel. I had no idea I was watching a virus outbreak film until almost a third of the way through it, and that really says something about it. It was very unconventional, and while that may seem like a bad thing, believe me when I say it wasn't. This genre of film was all but dead before 28 Days Later came out, but that was 6 years ago, and we were in need of an updated - and somewhat original - take on the idea. The zombies, and I use the term lightly, are very much like the ones from 28 Days Later in both speed and appearance. The only major difference, which I think plays a large part in what makes them very unique, is the high pitched squeal they let off before and while they attack people. It doesn't sound like much, but it really adds a lot to the film, when the cameraman - who is essentially you - is walking around in total darkness, that shriek comes out of nowhere, and all hell breaks loose.
I saw this film with subtitles, and since all Spanish sounds flustered and panicked, it is hard to say whether or not the acting was good. From what I could tell, the characters' progression from normal to terror seemed very realistic and not at all forced. The first person aspect added a nice element to this, as very few cuts took place, and a majority of the scenes were a minute or two long, and focused on a small group of people. It had a very claustrophobic feel to it, and there were times where I was honestly on the edge of my seat as they walked through a narrow hallway, wondering who, or what, would jump out at them. There wasn't an excessive amount of blood and gore in this one, but what was used was tasteful, and seemed realistic. There were a few shaky moments, where it seemed that the effects looked a little sketchy, but from what I understand, this was a very low budget film, and I can forgive them on some special effects bloopers. Considering that was the only minor gripe I had with the entire film, I'd have to say it was damn near a perfect movie. It was also nice to see some Night of the Living Dead and The Shining references thrown in, just for the geek factor.
Like every other film of its kind, the first thing people want to do is compare it to The Blair Witch Project. I have no problem with that, as I feel that [Rec] is actually a superior film. What I do have a problem with is it catching shit for using this style of filming. I know it's not the first of its kind, but if you want to nitpick, the film has been circulating film festivals in Europe for almost a year now, and not just cashing in on the success of Cloverfield and Diary of the Dead. Sadly, this movie probably won't see a DVD release until after the remake, which has been scheduled for an October release. It has been given the more obvious title of Quarantine and is being directed by the same man who brought us The Poughkeepsie Tapes, another movie which looks to use the POV style of film making. Hopefully the remake can live up to what a fantastic ride this film was. It went from casual to balls-to-the-wall horror in mere seconds, and didn't let up until the final scene, which was one of the most terrifying finales I think I've seen since the aforementioned Blair Witch Project. I wish I could tell all of you to get out there and see this film right away, but unfortunately we'll all have to wait for that undetermined DVD release.
- added 05/05/2008, 11:23 AM
Total agreement here. I saw this a few days ago
on the recommendation of a friend and was blown
away. Crazy film. Amazing film. The American
remake, called "Quarantine", comes out
around Halloween in the States. Will probably
suck, but this film was incredible. 10/10.
- added 05/05/2008, 11:23 AM
But I don't think it was better than "The
Blair Witch Project". No way.
grain of sand
- added 05/05/2008, 05:42 PM
This was a really fun one. If I'm not mistaken
the same dudes who did this one are about to do a
sequel with a better budget, should be
- added 05/10/2008, 12:28 AM
HAH. The viral marketing for the American remake
is awesome, only because the people on youtube
actually think it's real. Seriously, watch the
videos and read the comments. Knowing that it's
just marketing for an upcoming movie, the comments
will seem hilarious. Too bad the remake's a SHOT
FOR SHOT remake (at least it looks like it from
the trailer). The even show the last scene (as in
the last god damn 5 seconds of the movie) in the
- added 05/10/2008, 12:42 AM
Yeah, I saw a promo poster from the remake, and
it was the night-vision scene where she's lying on
the ground. I'll try not to blow it, but I wonder
if the "ending" will look the same, or
if it'll look different.
- added 05/16/2008, 12:45 PM
I remember seeing adverts for this on TV here in
the UK, and I really thought it looked bad. There
was no dialogue in them, and most scenes it showed
didn't show much happening. But I have heard lots
of good things about the movie, so I might end up
checking it out. I'm torn between what I've heard
about the movie and and what I've seen in a 30
second spot on TV.
- added 05/22/2008, 08:46 PM
Freaking amazing. There's really nothing more I
can say - this is how horror should be done.
- added 05/24/2008, 02:24 AM
That is the best movie experience I've had in a
long time. 11/10
grain of sand
- added 05/31/2008, 06:11 PM
I got a better quality version of this and saw it
nice and late. This actually had me scared, no
other POV movie has had me scared whatsoever. So
I'll say this is my personal favorite handheld
camera movie.. that's not saying much, but I guess
it is since I liked it A LOT better than Diary of
the Dead. 10/10
- added 10/21/2008, 11:44 PM
Meh, I didn't really like it all that much. After
a while Angela was becoming really annoying. But
that's just because I find other languages really
annoying.......so that's just me. The "We
have to get everything on tape" pissed me
off. Someone needs help, yet the cameraman just
stands there filming.....Jesus Christ. The
"scares" were terrible, it was quite
obvious when something was going to jump out and
scare you. The only parts I really enjoyed were
when the light on the camera is out, and only the
cameraman can see the infected, and the part when
the firefighter or policeman fell from the
staircase. That gave me a few laughs. It's not a
bad film, but I definitely wouldn't give it a 10,
I'd go with a 6 or 7. I just really don't like
these types of movies. And if Quarantine is worse,
then fuck that movie. Not even gonna bother with
- added 05/03/2009, 12:43 AM
This was really fucking good and it scared the
shit out of me on a few parts. When I had first
saw it I thought it was a Cloverfield (hated)
meets 28 Days Later knock off, but this really
surprised me and I'm glad I watched it. 9/10
- added 08/30/2009, 09:18 PM
Ok... I finally got around to watching
Frankly, I feel that while it
certainly does a better job than most with the
"spontaneous hand-held camera" work...
the sub-par story and rather pedestrian scripting
renders what could have been a great film, a
merely decent one.
Sure... the acting
is passable for the most part (aside from the
incredibly annoying and inconsistently played main
protagonist), but the weakly cobbled together
story relies far too much on gorey scare gags to
really suspend proper disbelief. It just doesn't
make much sense in some places... sorry, but there
Chad was certainly correct
about the last reveal being the best part of the
film... shockingly scary stuff that... and the
ONLY reason this film might be remembered 10 years
from now aside from it's American re-release.
I must say though... even with all that
went on... knowing the film's conclusion through
the American version's commercial campaign utterly
killed the final drama of the thing for me. I'm
glad I saw it, but I remain unimpressed. Too many
sloppy storytelling techniques and careless
editing mar an otherwise clever attempt.
Fun but overrated.
but I'm willing to stretch it to 7/10 for that
amazing last sequence.
- added 10/22/2009, 02:57 AM
Finally got around to watching this... Everything
about this is great. Loved it. The ending is the
one of the scariest things I've seen in a while.