Film Review: Rec 2
[Rec], on release in 2007, was generally considered one of the best of a bad batch of found footage horrors. Combining a winning formula of disturbing gore, realistic settings and efficient jump scares, [Rec] was a genuinely scary film that won over numerous critics and fans, and was even granted a pointless US remake (Quarantine). Now, we have [Rec] 2, a direct sequel that takes place in the same building a few minutes after the brilliant finale of its predecessor.
The important thing to say is that this film does not approach the levels of [Rec], despite taking on the Aliens philosophy of amping up everything for the sequel. Following a SWAT team as they move into the infected building, it is weird seeing the very same sets we had seen previously looking fresh and new again. It would be interesting to see more sequels with iconic locations utilise this, as it is a great experience entering the apartment block all over again.
The first half hour is the strongest, as we get plenty of zombie shooting, a few solid jumps and ‘lurking in the shadows’ creepiness. One thing you could never say about the [Rec] films is that they lack atmosphere, and the sequel is no exception; the quarantined building feels like a fully fleshed out, realised location, where anything could happen anywhere.
The problem occurs when the action switches from the perspective of the armed forces to that of three immensely irritating teenagers. Likeability and sympathy is stripped away and we are left with three whiney teens making illogical decisions and refusing to turn their cameras off despite death being in their face. Granted, we aren’t with them too long, but it’s enough to make you incredibly irritable. The power of the scares themselves, meanwhile, begin to evaporate over the fairly short running time, as literally every scare follows the same formula; a shadow is stood still, and we aren’t sure whether it’s about to lunge at the camera or not.
It isn’t to say [Rec] 2 is a bad film, as it has some solid scares and a lot of gore, along with a possession subplot which actually makes it markedly different to most modern zombies; it’s just that compared to the first film, it is too repetitive and so begs comparisons with [Rec], for which it ultimately shows itself to be a good, exciting film, but nothing more.
By Harry Ford