I don’t mind saying that [REC] messed with my head in both the best and most disturbing ways. Its steady build into a furious crescendo of terror outshone most of the the films put out by the horror genre in recent years. An announced sequel made me feel conflicted. I wanted to see more, but I wanted to leave well enough alone. At least the film was left in the capable hands of directors Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza.
The film follows a small paramilitary unit dispatched the quarantined apartment building of the original film. In fact, [REC] 2 picks up literally seconds after the end of the original. The original occupants of the building (as well as the firefighters and news crew of 1) have become contaminated with a rage-inducing virus, reducing them to blood thirsty zombies.
The soldiers are each equipped with cameras on their helmets. This allows the storytelling to be told not just through the lens of one single camera as before, but up to five. This certainly allows the plot to be a bit more complex, but the frightening realism of the single camera method is lessened. Midway through the film, the story turns from the soldiers to a group of three Spanish teenagers who sneak into the building in search of an adventure. The films quick pace comes to screeching halt for a few minutes here, and never fully recovers (until the explosive and chilling finale that most certainly leaves room for a [REC] 3).
There are flaws, to be sure. Everyone is moving so quickly in such dark hallways, it’s very difficult to tell who is being eaten by what. The character development of [REC] is lacking. There’s a tad too much anti-Catholicism (priests infecting too many children). But the realism of the filming, the lack of a score, the terrifying zombie creatures, they’re all still wicked effective. If you can get back the gallons and gallons of blood and violence, you’re in for a pretty good scare that rates above most horror sequels.