Monday, January 28, 2013


***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

[Rec] – 4 out of 5

Did you ever see that 2008 “found footage” film called Quarantine with Dexter’s sister? If you haven’t, you’re lucky but if you have and are like me you remember that the film sucked on a level that broke new ground for a horror genre that is built upon sucking. The film was messy, poorly acted and the big pay off is that the zombie-like frenzy occurring in the film is the product of a disease resembling rabies—Resembling? Okay, basically these people just have a mutant strain of rabies. Things only get worse when you remember the film is remembered for giving away its ending in both the poster and in the trailer. What you may not know (I’ll admit, I didn’t know until recently because after watching Quarantine I did everything I could to forget that awful movie) was the film was an American remake of a Spanish film called [Rec] made only a year early. Here’s the kicker…[Rec] is better. I know, I know, the concept of an American remake being worse than a foreign original is completely unheard of (please read the sarcasm in that).

"Hi, welcome to tonight's program.  I sure hope America doesn't take this and suck
out all that is good and entertaining and replace me with a shitty actress who thinks
talking out of the side of her mouth constitutes on to the weather..."

The story to [Rec] is nearly identical to the remake that was done here in the states with one crucial detail that was removed because American audiences are stupid (that’s why “found footage” films do so well despite the glaring fact that they are poorly acted and contain no story or plot) and the twist at the end of the original would have probably made reality TV show fans who saw it collapse into themselves like a dying star. 

And on that day Paris Hilton realized her dream...

"You want a copy of my band's demo tape?"
The story goes that Ángela Vidal (Manuela Velasco) is a young television reporter on a late night magazine-style television show and she’s filming a piece about the night shift at a firehouse. They end up getting a call about disturbance at an apartment and are unprepared for what they find. An infection of some kind is running rampant through the building and the survivors suddenly find themselves locked in by the CDC. Ángela, the firemen and the surviving residents are now forced to figure out a way of getting out before they become potential residents for body bags. And then they learn the horrible truth about the infection spreading through the people and the true terror begins…

This dark shot and the beast hidden within is the scarier than all of American's
horror films in the last 20 years.

The copious amounts of cocaine helped this man deal
with the horrors befalling the apartment building.
Eh? Like that ominous tone I gave there at the end of the synopsis? In truth, this Spanish original deserves it. Watching Quarantine you would have no idea how truly scary the property could be—shocking considering the film was nearly a shot-for-shot remake of [Rec] except instead of a compelling ending that throws all that you’ve seen in the film for a loop they replace it with an annoying performance from Jennifer Carpenter. [Rec] really delivers on the horror department that its American remake couldn’t accomplish due to amazingly awful acting. The cast in this original version all come off frighteningly realistic and it really pulled me into the film and, because of that, made it do something that 100% of all American “found footage” horror films can’t do: Look real.

And nothing is more real than that Casanova's mustache!

The fact that the film also has a more intelligent ending beyond the lazy “it’s a virus” explanation also makes this film better beyond what the States created in the remake. This ending gives the film an edge and makes it smarter than the “just slap an ending on it.” When all the terror and carnage comes together at the end and you learn the truth of the situation you go “ohhhhh” and then the scariest damn part of the movie begins. The film rewards you for engaging with it and trying to figure out what’s going on with the characters and doesn’t just give you the explanation half-way through the movie and then decides to show you the ending you already saw in the trailer and again on the poster when you saw it at the theater.

This looks familiar...yet it was still somehow better than the American version's
ending that came out a year later.

Shadowy figure standing intimidatingly at the far end of the
hall...I see no danger here.
[Rec] feels authentic and took a genre that, by now, is cliché and overly familiar and made a movie that, in 2007, was strikingly original, truly terrifying and all around awesome. The filmmakers could have easily shat out a generic zombie movie or generic “found footage” film and it could have passed for most of what Hollywood does with the horror genre but co-writers and directors Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza took them, melded them and made them smart—not just a collection of “hey, let’s make the audience jump and give no real intelligent payoff at the end.” [Rec] is just another example how the only way to get a truly smart, truly unique and truly terrifying horror film is to get one that was made anywhere but America.

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