Wednesday, June 3, 2009

[Rec] (2007)

It seems we're still not getting sick of watching epileptic videos of people in peril, knowing or assuming that those screaming and agonizing poor sods probably did not live to tell the tale themselves. What The Blair Witch Project did more than a decade prior - setting up a viral ad campaign to mythologise what is obviously a human construct - continued last year with the JJ Abrams-produced Godzilla wannabe, Cloverfield and its doomed videographer and his friends as they escape a gigantic metaphor for the September 11th attacks. I was abjectly unimpressed by either film, albeit watched in awe at least a couple of scenes in each, such as the ambiguous and terrifying finale of the former and the criminally-underused arachnids that terrorised the New York subway system in the latter.

Spain's answer to this trend - already remade in the US as Quarantine (2008) - doesn't have the audacity to claim its veracity with a disclaimer. We are plunged in to the situation from the get-go: a TV crew accompanies firemen to a "boring" call for an old woman trapped in her apartment. Two policemen at the scene debrief the firemen and before they know it the old lade bites one of the policemen in the neck. Zombie-bashing ensues. Meanwhile, the police have cordoned off the building - rather quickly, I must say - and won't let anybody in or out. You can guess what transpires from this point on: one by one, the one-dimensional inhabitants of the building, the firemen, and the policeman fall prey to the menace until the "final girl" survives ... along with the cameraman.

The scares are a-plenty, but thet very seldom catch you off guard. The acting is as shaky as the camera itself and the violence is satisfyingly gory, though not so much to put off the average horror fan. There is an absurd attempt at explaining the whole shebang, which derails the film from its promising track onto an old and tired one. The homage to The Silence of the Lambs at the finale doesn't save it from shooting itself in the foot. All in all a mildyly satisfying film, but is let down by a clunky justification. There was no need for it.

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