Admittedly I had neither heard nor seen the REC series until a few months ago. I’m usually not a big fan of foreign films but thought I will give this a chance as I had just recently watched ‘Oldboy’. One of the advantages of the REC films is that there are English subtitles so I don’t have to learn Spanish to actually watch the film. It is also a mockumentary which uses the conventions of a documentary which gives the films a sense of reality and it also means that the audience invests in the characters in a personal level Both of these films have ‘Blair Witch’ elements to them but it takes it a new perspective with flesh-eating zombies and an unknown disease causing everyone to turn into savages covered in blood with no way out.
While the premise of the film is nothing new to us there is plenty to keep the viewer entertained and on the edge of their seats. The film is actually the only good zombie movie as it doesn’t just follow the conventions of a horror film. Even though the action is fast-paced and the camera is rather shaky the viewer still knows whats going on. The main difference between REC and The Blair Witch Project is that the Blair Witch relied on the power of suggestion to create horror and suspense whereas REC uses fast camera angles and horror scenes that arrive thick and fast. We see the film through the lens of Pablo’s camera and we re thrown into the action very quickly. As the level of terror increases throughout the film the camera becomes more and more shaky. As the power cuts out in the building and the night vision is turned on everything becomes more creepy because they can’t see anything. This in some ways improves the quality of the film because if we knew what was going to happen next it wouldn’t be as effective. The fact that the first film was completely comprised of hand held footage from the camera makes it seem like a documentary the whole way through with the mixture of zombie horror movie.
We follow Angela and her cameraman Pablo as they film a ficitional documentary and they are filming the local fire station. The beginning of the film is deliberately quite soft and the audience are shown the nocturnal happenings within a Barcelona fire station. They are quickly alerted to a call from an apartment building apart a woman who is trapped on her apartment. It seems perfectly routine, but as soon as they see the woman covered in blood they realise it is not all it seems. As the other terrified residents gather in the lobby of the building the body of the policeman falls from the staircase and lands in the lobby. Angela and Pablo are soon trapped in the building along with the other residents as the police shut off the building to isolate the virus. As the film goes on people become infected and they turn into blood-thirsty savages and Angela becomes more hysterical yet keeps filming everything. By the end of the first film it seems that Angela and Pablo are the only survivors, everyone else is either dead or has become infected. Another thing is that there is underlying theme of religion in it as Angela and Pablo go into the penthouse of the apartment building and find newspaper clippings and a tape recording about the girl that the original infection came from who was called “Demon of Medeiros”. The girl was supposedly possessed by demons and a member of the Vatican sealed her inside the penthouse but when Angela and Pablo enter the apartment the seal is broken so she is free. We don’t see the girl until Pablo turns on the night vision on the camera and the girl looks almost alien-like and ghoulish. The girl doesn’t become aware of Pablo and Angela’s presence and she attacks Pablo. Angela picks the camera up and tries to run with it, however she trips aswell and as she tries to find the camera but can’t find it and is dragged off by the girl. The camera keeps rolling as she is dragged away. The camera then cuts to footage that we saw at the beginning of the film of Angela telling Pablo to film everything.
Overall REC is a good film. It keeps the viewer on the edge of their seats throughout the films. Even though it seems to be your stereotypical zombi film it turns out to be so much more