‘Rec is the latest offering by another of my favourite modern horror directors, Jaume Bagulaero. After the enormously creepy, but quite mainstream ‘Fragile’ his latest offering goes back to the lower budget, cult era of film making. I guess for the layman ‘Rec’ could be best compared with Romero’s latest hash of a movie ‘Diary of the Dead’, in that it is a zombie movie shown solely through the eyes of a portable camera; thankfully that is where the comparisons stop as ‘Rec’ is actually worth the watch!
The movie opens as an enthusiastic reporter is set trying to sex up her latest documentary on the lifestyles of firemen when they receive a callout to help free an old lady from her apartment. Upon entering her apartment, she goes nuts and bites the officer who is helping her. Very quickly the block is quarantined leaving the reporter, her camera man and a host of unlucky residents trapped in the apartment block with the un-dead.
Admittedly the plot isn’t complicated but then it really doesn’t need to be, the attention is definitely placed upon what is sent on screen; what we watch for the whole 75 minutes. With these sorts of movies there can be no exterior, no fillers, no symbolic object shots; just the actors having to occupy every second of run time. But where others fail, ‘Rec’ excels.
First of all the characters in the film are both natural and interesting and the actors act out their ‘normal’ rolls well. Some piss you off, others are brave, and others just wall flowers following the group around. Naturally the characters don’t have a clue what is going on, and so they have to react to the situations as and when they come. It was my fear that we going to spend most of the movie watching the old shaky cam running around with plenty of screaming and not a lot of actual scenarios, however, as restricted as the location is somehow the movie manages to use several well placed set pieces to break up the action, keeping the pace fast and the irritating camera work to a minimum.
Where ‘Rec’ falls a little short, in terms of it being a zombie movie is the gore. Sadly there are not loads of it, but I guess what there is realistic and that’s the aim of the movie. That said the effects look pretty cool and there is one of the classic latex skin throat rip scenes which always looks good! There is some brutal sledge hammer violence too but it’s off screen, and plenty of zombies covered in blood but that’s your lot.
‘Fragile’ had an absolute showstopper of an ending after a lot of build up and too, ‘Rec’ delivers in the same vein. I’m not going to ruin it for you but it had me shitting myself quite substantially. This leaves the movie on a definite high.
Overall, ‘Rec’ is a superb example of good film making; making a little bit go a long way. Despite is obvious non-reality, the characters reactions and desperate plight make the whole experience feel very real indeed, and once the credits roll after the superb ending you simply think ‘brilliant’. It’s simple, and not particularly original, but it’s the best example of this type of movie there is. There’s nothing more to say; watch it!