Review: REC 2 (TIFF)
PLOT: This sequel takes place thirteen minutes after the events of the original [REC]. The action returns to the quarantined apartment building in Spain, where a strange illness has tuned the former residents into flesh eating zombies. The SWAT team is called to the scene, and, under the leadership of a priest, they enter the building in an attempt to find the blood of the young girl who started the infection, which they hope will contain the antibodies needed to prevent a large scale outbreak of this deadly, transformative virus.
REVIEW: I had high hopes for this sequel, as the original [REC] was one of the scariest horror films Id seen in years. Usually, Im pretty desensitized to this type of thing, but [REC] actually managed to scare the piss out of me, and given the fact that the original directors, Jaume Balaguero, and Paco Plaza were back on bard for the sequel, I walked into [REC] 2 hoping for another scare-filled thrill ride.
For the most part, thats exactly what I got, as [REC] 2 is probably the most effective horror sequel Ive seen since 28 WEEKS LATER. What makes it work so well is that it really expands on the ideas laid out by the original film, which suggested that the zombie infection was demonic in nature. Here, we have an ass-kicking priest enter into the fray, and the demonic back-story is fleshed out somewhat, although left vague enough to leave room for yet another sequel (which, according to the Midnight Madness programmers at TIFF, is already on the books).
Like the original film, its shot with handheld cameras, a la CLOVERFIELD, but instead of having it be footage from a TV Video Camera, this is shot from the perspective of the SWAT team officers who each have tiny cameras attached to their helmets resulting in a nice ALIENS-style vibe, where the action jumps from one officer to another. Theres lot more zombie action in here than the original, which was more of a slow burn, but it really does feel like you could put both films together, and have them fit together seamlessly.
The only problem with [REC] 2 is that its not quite as scary as the original film. When I saw the first film, people were screaming with fright throughout, and I was practically hiding under my seat. The sequel did not have quite the same effect on me, although the audience I saw it with was fairly vocal. Still, its probably unavoidable that this is not as scary, as I had no idea what to expect with the first installment, but here I pretty much knew exactly what I was getting myself into.
I think fans of the original [REC] are going to dig this film in a big way, as it really does live up to the original. Hopefully, this wont be treated the same way the original was, and be re-shot as QUARANTINE 2 (although supposedly plans are underway) and I whole-heartedly recommend checking this out if you liked the first film. You wont be disappointed.
Other reviews from TIFF: MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS - UP IN THE AIR - JENNIFER'S BODY - THE INVENTION OF LYING - DAYBREAKERS - YOUTH IN REVOLT - THE BOYS ARE BACK - THE ROAD - THE INFORMANT!- BAD LIEUTENANT: PORT OF CALL NEW ORLEANS - A SERIOUS MAN- LEAVES OF GRASS- SOLITARY MAN- THE IMAGINARIUM OF DR. PARNASSUS - MICMACS - WHIP IT