I didn’t know much about Rec as I was loading the disc, I didn’t read the backcover blurb as the front cover sealed the deal. (See above picture.)
Angela is a spunky young reporter (from the look of her I would also guess ex-weathergirl), who hosts a late night “Insomniac” style show, minus the drinking and dick jokes called “While You Sleep”. Pablo is her unseen cameraman and we all know he only exists as a character to justify why the events are being filmed in the first place.
Tonight’s taping is for a show based around the typical night of a fire-house and the employees within, and for the first 12 minutes the movie does run like a sort of raw doco with interviews and interaction with the firemen that are simply an unrelated prelude to what follows.
When your film is 77 minutes long you get into it quickly, so after 12 minutes the firehouse receives a call, not to a fire which is unfortunate for the doco, but to a disturbance at an apartment building, so off they go to the building which looks like it was designed with Resident Evil as a template, (the game, not the movies).
The initial people involved include a couple of firemen, the building supervisor, a local policeman and some local tenants still in pyjamas. Initially it appears that an old lady on the first floor is in some distress for an unexplained reason, in investigating the disturbance something occurs that unleashes some form of virus that, as they all seem to do these days; turns those that come into contact into a zombie style unit.
Without needing to go into specifics we can see what is coming, frantic dashes with much screaming, snarling and spitting, a guessing game as to who is next to be infected and who will get by, conspiracy theories, people selling out their former mates to save themselves and some lovely neck munching, all filmed in the now familiar shakey (but well focussed) style of course.
There’s a nice scene towards the end, where the remaining survivors hole up in the uppermost apartment, that was previously described as vacant….. but is it? Part Blair Witch, part Silence of the Lambs night vision scene, it is well handled and a welcome relief to the bite and scratch that makes the 45 minutes immediately prior.
Surely the hand held camera era is nearly past the use by date? Even if not this was an OK, formulaic piece that adds nothing to the zombie genre without poaching too much from anything made previous. The actress playing Angela is pretty cute and plays the role well with a bit of fire at appropriate times, which adds to the film’s momentum where it is in danger of lagging.
Fans of horror movie cliches, and I’m talking to young blokes here, will be disappointed that the director couldn’t fit in one of the holy trinity of either the gratuitous shower, the unnecessary soaking of the white tank top (that she does wear) or the baffling sex scene between the heroine and “some guy she just met”.
Without going into spoilerific detail the finale has a very creepy tone, and some good makeup and I guess you would say character design when it comes to the zombies?
Final Rating – 6 / 10. Nothing new, doesn’t overstay the welcome. Makes good use of the standard conspiracy, misdirection and character tension that these movies need. Lead actress is cute and commits to the role, which is good as the film revolves around her.