Director – Jaume Balaguero, Paco Plaza
Cast – Jonathan Mellor, Óscar Zafra, Ariel Casas, Manuela Velasco, Alejandro Casaseca, Pablo Rosso, Pep Molina, Andrea Ros, Àlex Batllori, Ferran Terraza
Release Year – 2009
Reviewed by John of the Dead
Well, it looks like the writing/directing duo of Paco Plaza and Jaume Balaguero have done it again. After giving us the best horror film of last decade, 2007’s REC, these Spanish horror vets gave us a highly enjoyable sequel that not only provides 80 minutes of non-stop entertainment, but takes REC’s every-awesome demon possession element to new and extreme levels.
REC 2 begins mere moments after the climax of the first film, this time focusing on a SWAT team outfitted with helmet cams as they escort Dr. Owen, a medical officer in charge of attaining valuable information regarding the origin of the demon possession ransacking the apartment complex. This dangerous mission turns deadly quick, and the team encounters more troubles and even more demon-orientation than expected.
Don’t you just love it when you go into a film expecting a good experience, yet leave with an experience much better than you expected? I figured REC 2 would be a positive watch, possibly an awesome watch, but I did not expect this flick to be near perfect and almost better than the original entry. While this flick focuses more on entertainment than gritty scares like REC did, it still proved to be a superb watch that succeeded in doing what it set out to do…entertain.
Right from the get-go this flick takes off at a quick pace and gets us into the carnage and tension within minutes of the opening credits. I will admit though that because this is a sequel it acquires the unfair advantage that I often explain when dealing with a sequel, which is the fact that unlike the original film, the sequel can take off right away. Not as much development is needed before things get going, and pacing-wise the sequel pretty much always benefits from that(granted it is executed properly). Nonetheless, it is what it is and this flick does a superb job of keeping the viewer’s interest and scare levels high thanks to very good direction from the Plaza/Jaume directing duo.
Most of the original elements we got in REC are given to us in this flick, but after a heavy dose of steroids. Instead of the one news camera giving us all of the POV shots we get multiple helmet-mounted cameras that display a much brighter tone than the original camera, a tone which I did not really enjoy at first but took it as it was. I personally found the grittier tone of the camera used in REC to provide a much creepier feel, but good direction allowed the tone used in this film to get the job done, so I’ll take it. The “infected/possessed” carnage was fun to watch, and although it came off as a bit overplayed at times it still provided for good entertainment, which I am sure was an issue due to this film’s higher(in comparison to REC) production value. What I really enjoyed in regards to intensifying the original elements was the usage of the demon possession. I really did not expect to be bombarded with battles between the possessed and a powerful priest sent from the Vatican, and it was pretty damn awesome to watch. At the rate these films are going it seems REC 3(already in the “works”) may come off as a modern day Evil Dead, which I do not mind one bit.
Story-wise this flick is the usual nowhere-to-run scenario, but with many unique elements to keep it from ever getting dull. As I mentioned, the demon possession element was incredible, and we even get much more information regarding the events that led to the outbreak, which I found fascinating and enjoyable. Quite a few twists and turns are thrown into the mix as well, providing good and realistic conflict given to us from actors who did a fine job displaying it. We also get a nice out-of-nowhere somewhat-”twist” ending that I saw coming at the recurrence of another character, but was nonetheless an interesting addition to the demon sub-plot and a nice way to end the film.
Overall, this is an awesome horror film and an incredible sequel to one of horror’s most incredible films. If you want 80 minutes of non-stop action, tension, and scares then you can do no wrong by giving this film a watch. Once again the Plaza/Balaguero duo have given us an amazing horror film that blends multiple horror sub-genres into one mash-up of great horror.