31 Favorites #14: [REC]

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Shit shit shit. [Rec]. As in “[Rec]syour nerves” or “leaves you a total [Rec].” I’ll be honest, when I first heard about this one, I was skeptical. Another found footage/first person POV film? Great. About zombies? Even better. – yawn – But if there’s one surprising thing about [Rec], it’s that it somehow manages to transcend all of your expectations, and by the end of the film, I was peeking through my fingers.

[Rec] starts with a film crew and hostess taping an episode of a show called “While You Were Sleeping,” which documents workers who work in the middle of the night (as an aside, I think this is kind of a brilliant idea for a show). This takes the crew to a firehouse, where they interview and pal around with firefighters while waiting for an interesting call to come in.

And boy does one ever come in…

Don’t be fooled by the slow first part of the film. We’re just warming up here. [Rec] is fast and furious,, a testament to how much you can do with atmosphere and the innate terror humans have of being in an enclosed space with something or someone they don’t want to be around.

There are plenty of scares and creep outs throughout the film, though its most defining part happens at the end. First there’s that…thing…in the penthouse. And all the darkness. So much darkness. But [Rec] also defies expectations by making the source of the outbreak religious in origin. It’s an interesting spin on the zombie genre, and it earns this film a spot in my 31 favorite horror films.

I should note that there was a remake of [Rec] made called Quarantine. In my opinion, it’s worth seeing the original version of the film in Spanish, even with bad English dubbing. The nature of the outbreak is different in the two films, and I think the mythology established in theSpanish version of the film makes for a much more interesting discussion.

Three Things I Love About It: 

  1. The benefit of first person POV films is that we feel as if we know our characters a little more intimately. So despite the fact that we only get to spend a few moments getting to know them before chaos sets in, we come to really care about the reporter, her crew, and the firefighters they’re tagging along with.
  2. [Rec] takes not one, but two genres that have been done to death, and does something magically different with them. And it’s effectively scary!
  3. That ending. Geez. You know how sometimes when you finally see The Monster, the film you’re watching suddenly becomes less frightening? Well yeah, that doesn’t happen here.
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