REC 2 was the highly anticipated sequel to the Spanish horror gem REC. Set in a flat in Barcelona, the original was great at maintaining the sense of claustrophobia and ‘no way out’, the with the place being quarantined for an infection. The final 10 minutes of the original opened up new possibilities involving the ‘zombies’ and how the ‘infection’ came to be. It’s not easy for a sequel to maintain the level of it’s predecessor but REC 2 had an awful lot going for it.
REC 2 takes off just after the events in the original. A GEO team (a Special Operations Team) accompany Dr. Owen (Jonathan Mellor) who is part of the Ministry of Health into the quarantined apartment building. As they make their way up to the penthouse flat on the top floor, they encounter some of the infected. Dr. Owen uses a rosary to fight them off and it soon becomes clear to the frightened GEO team that ‘Dr. Owen’ isn’t really from the Ministry of Health. It also becomes evidently clear that the ‘infected’ have something unearthly about them….
The film starts off like a first person shooter. As they go up the spiral staircase towards the penthouse, the handheld camera gives the illusion that the viewer is part of the team. This is great and work effectively, especially in scenes where the infected are running towards the team. Also, for a film that lasts 85 minutes, things are going to hot up immediately. The infected, for a low budget film, look genuinely frightening. A notable scene involves an infected boy strapped down to a chair. The boy’s look and expressions seem very real and it makes for an intense view.
I also like the fact that the film went to other levels whilst maintaining the same fear. The introduction of Dr. Owen and his role in the film added an extra dimension and gave us additional fears. Also, expanding on the events in the first film gave the film, as mentioned earlier, and extra dimension. The infected are far more scarier when more things are revealed throughout the film. The quarantined apartment blocks, as with the first film, maintained the fear of claustrophobia. You’ll also never look at a spiral staircase the same way again.
The film does well on these aspects but sadly, doesn’t live up to the original. The first 10-20 minutes are brilliant. They open up new possibilities and the twists does well at instilling fear. It is fast paced, tense and real. The rest of the film doesn’t live up to this apart from the finale. The addition of new characters near the middle of the film does nothing to advance the film. They are annoying and I didn’t feel any sympathy towards them. Also, the GEO team seem to be very inadequate fighters. Although they’ve never encountered anything like this before, surely they could shoot a bit better and not go crazy.
REC 2 has its flaws but nonetheless, still a great film. It encompasses what was good about the original and adds in extra twists. This makes for a great horror film (mainly for the first 10-20 minutes)! If you enjoyed REC, then you’ll enjoy this film, not to mention the unnatural side of things….