Knowing that [REC] is the movie that Quarantine was based on, you may be hesitant to go see this movie. I’ve already gone over the difference between the two and reviewed the sequel which continues right from where this movie left off so it’s about time I finally reviewed the original.
I consider myself a horror movie connoisseur as I’ve been watching horror movies since I was a kid. I understand that the standard for judging horror movies generally have to be lower than other movie categories and that really good horror movies are few and far between. Then you have those guilty pleasures where you know it’s an enjoyable movie because of the killings and horror scenes even though the story itself is really nothing special. I just love that roller-coaster ride of fear and panic that a good horror movie can send you on.
All that being said, I really have to admit that in my opinion [REC] is the scariest movie I’ve ever seen. Once everything started spinning out of control my heart was racing and by the end of the movie I was literally up off my couch freaking out.
[REC] is a found-footage film where a news reporter, Angela Vidal, is filming a typical night with firefighters for a documentary television series similar to Cops called While You’re Asleep. The first few minutes are actually boring but it does develop the two main characters Angela, with such a charming personality, and Pablo, her cameraman. We never actually see Pablo since he is the one that is always holding the camera but we do hear his voice and at times when he puts the camera down we see just a part of his body. Eventually the alarms go off and the firefighters head out to a call while Angela and Pablo tag along for the ride. Once they get to a small apartment building they meet two police officers and the residents of the building all waiting downstairs in the lobby of the building because a woman is screaming and trapped in her room. This is where the nightmare begins.
By now most people have a sour distaste for found-footage movies however [REC] does a superb job with it. In order for found-footage movies to work the story has to have a good reason why it is being documented in such a fashion. Then there has to be a good excuse as to how the whole story can be covered through the lens. [REC] pulls off both. Since the story is mainly confined to the one apartment building and there are only a handful of characters it allows Angela and Pablo to cover all the action. The basic premise of the movie is a zombie infection has broke out in this small apartment building and it has been quarantined so anyone already inside is trapped as the authorities have the locked down the building from the outside. One by one people are being attacked and become infected. At first those inside try to contain the infected ones but each time someone else becomes infected it makes it that much harder to separate themselves from them. As this is going on everyone inside is working together to piece together exactly what is going on how to make sense of it all. The discussions just keep leading to more questions. Pieces of the puzzle are revealed as the movie progresses to give us a complete story as to the origin of the infection. Then before you realize it there are so many infected that the safe areas become less and less until there is just no where left to hide. The pacing and story development is spot on and builds up to a terrifying ending. The fact that we see how cute and charming Angela is at the beginning of the movie really adds to the trauma that she goes through throughout. You really feel for her.
It is a foreign film. It was filmed at and takes place in Barcelona and the entire movie is in Spanish but if you are a horror movie fanatic then don’t let that stop you from watching this gem. It is easy to follow along reading subtitles while watching the movie. There is a dubbed version with English voice-overs but stay away from that version at all costs! Make sure the version you watch is the original Spanish audio with English subtitles. After I watched the original version I tried to watch the dubbed version but couldn’t make it past the first few minutes.
If you love horror and you have yet to see this then please do yourself a favor – find a copy asap. I haven’t seen a movie this scary in such a long time. It really sticks with you; I couldn’t get it out of my head for days. This is a horror movie masterpiece. The infected are truly scary. Every scene they’re in gets your heart pumping fear throughout your body. With the found-footage format you are truly immersed in horror.
Movie Review: Sleep Tight – From one of the two directors of the [REC] series.