[REC] – May contain spoiler.

This weekend I finally got around to watching REC and I have to say it was pretty bloody frightening.

REC is a Spanish film made in 2007 and directed by Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza. It screened here at the film festival in 2008 and its sequel, [Rec] 2 is having its NZ debut on Halloween at the Incredibly Strange Movie Marathon.

For two reasons, [REC] was remade and released in the states as Quarantine. The first reason is because [REC] is in Spanish, which leads to the second reason: American distributers don’t like foreign films.

Apparently Quarantine is shit. I haven’t seen it so I can’t judge, but I just felt the urge to say; if you have the option, rent [REC] over Quarantine. 

The film tells the story of a reality TV show presenter and her camera man who, while shooting an on-the-job style programme about a night (and it would be a night wouldn’t it?) in the life of a fire crew, attend an apartment building after a call concerning a screaming woman who is trapped in her own apartment. Very quickly they find themselves trapped in the building as the health authorities seal it up from the outside.

I don’t think I’m spoiling it for everyone if i say the woman is a zombie.

The story is pretty predictable: the first zombie bites someone, which means there are two zombies, until somebody else gets bitten, and then there are three. And so on.

But what makes this film so appealing is the way it’s handled. Viewers don’t have to come to the film with the presumption that zombies exist. The characters never refer to the zombies as zombies, but rather as people who have just happened to become infected. And it’s shot from the perspective of the camera that was originally recording the reality TV show. That’s right. Blair Witch styles. That means no extra diegeitc soundtrack, shaky camera work, muffled sound and out of focus shots. Which all add to the overall verisimilitude of the picture.

The cover doesn’t give much away in terms of critical response (five stars from the Mirror and the News of the World ?? – Can we have some real newspapers review this please) but the folks at Flicks.co.nz gave it five stars as did the people at Bizarre. (Just a note, bizarre is actually quite bizarre and I can’t see them throwing five star reviews around hanky-panky. Check out their site if you’re into fetish gear and girls with tattoos). 

But I digress.

I was scared for at least an hour after I finished watching this film. Which makes it a high calibre contestant in my books. See it if it sounds interesting to you.

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