(dir. Jaume Balaguero and Paco Plaza)
*First time viewing
Scare Factor: 3/5 [REC] is a worthy addition to the zombie/outbreak sub-genre, and offers plenty of jump scares, gore, and genuinely starling moments. It’s nothing revolutionary, but there’s nothing to dislike about it, and it’s certainly good for a few late night chills.
While filming a TV documentary on a local fire station, a host and her cameraman are quarantined inside an apartment building that’s become overrun with infected tenets.
I actually saw the American-remake Quarantine before I saw this, and it’s impossible not to compare the two. Despite the critical consensus that that the Spanish-language film is significantly superior to its American counterpart, I found them to display the same level of quality. Both films are good and they’re nearly identical. If you enjoyed Quarantine, you’ll enjoy [REC] though you won’t find much in the way of surprises, even with the slight change in the source of the outbreak which hinges moreso on Spanish culture. But what you will find are convincingly strong performances, particularly from lead Manuela Velasco, whose opportunism is endearing but also proves to be her downfall.
Regardless of whether the American remake was necessary (I can confirm it wasn’t after watching [REC]), the fact remains the story of both films is engaging, tension-filled, and succeeds primarily through their brisk pace and simple concept. Neither the concept nor format are particularly novel, but the found-footage is well-executed, particularly during the film’s climax, and the characters are given a logical reason to keep filming. The pieces of mythology included near the film give the film a wider scope that distinguishes it from other outbreak movies, though from what I’ve heard about the sequels, it may be best to let the story end with [REC].