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REC 2
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Reviewed by: Matt Withers

Directed by: Jaume Balagueró, Paco Plaza

Starring:
Jonathan Mellor
Manuela Velasco

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
More zombies in a high rise hijinks. But are they just zombies or something more sinister? A SWAT team is sent in to find out, and the news ain't good.
Is it good movie?
For a sequel, REC 2 does just about everything right. It starts off fast, builds just a touch of chemistry between the leads and then lets loose. To some degree it has to in order to work, because it's not really going anywhere that we haven't seen before. Zombies, found footage, claustrophobic space, a "company" guy with shady motives - there was a real risk of it falling flat.

Instead they come up with a nice twist on the expected "zombie" origin story that we've come to expect, and while I won't ruin it for you if you've not caught wind of it yet, I will say it's a clever mixing of horror sub-genres. The mystery aspect helps the goings on feel a lot more fresh than they might otherwise play.

It's also always fun to see highly trained operatives face a situation like this, as opposed to the usual "normal people". It ups the ante effectively, and in the case of REC 2, gives multiple camera angles to pull from since all of the SWAT members have helmet cams. Unfortunately that makes it all the more painful when the middle block of the film dumps the SWAT angle for what feels like forever to focus on three idiotic teens. One character in the trio is so annoying I nearly fast forwarded through the section. Pure padding, and that is the films Achilles hell.

Before long though, we are thrust back into the creepy thrill ride and we get a very satisfying ending that ties well back into the original. It's not quite enough to overcome a critically flawed second act, but it does avoid letting that flaw turn fatal.

Video / Audio
Video: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen

Audio: Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1; English and English SDH subtitles

The Extras
Deleted and Extended Scenes: More teenagers? No thank you.

Behind-the-Scenes documentary: One of the best of these I've seen

A Walkthrough of the Set featurette

Sitges Film Festival Press Conference featurette

On Tour featurette

Last Call
Great sequels are hard to come by in horror, and honestly when REC 2 is humming along I kept having flashes of ALIENS, and how well the second installment of that franchise handled things. Unfortunately REC 2 also tries to kill itself with an understandable, but poorly realized detour away from our SWAT team heroes. Still, it does so much well that one can forgive it the sins it commits.
ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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