Fin introduced me to this film before we started horror club and I was bowled over by it. I watched it with no hype or expectations, and I was scared witless. As Fin’s wife, Kirsty, can testify... I screamed like a little girl for the majority of this movie (fortunately Fin was screaming right alongside me to lessen my personal shame). When we watched the film in the first season it was to let Clarky see what we’d been raving about. I was surprised that it stood up so well to a second viewing. Not many films can scare you on second viewing, but this one certainly did. You can’t really endorse a horror film more than that.
The style of the film is one that I usually would scoff at as gimmicky. The whole shaky camera thing is a horror fad, in my opinion, and yet with this film it works superbly well. Probably because the film is paced so relentlessly you forget about it quite early on. Plus there are some absolutely superb set pieces that play to this style. Similarly, the genre of the film (a sort of zombie outbreak) has been done to death, and so it probably should feel a little too well trodden and familiar. Yet this film breathes new life into a previously tired format. It manages to take long standing traditions - and seemingly passing trends - and moulds them into something really unique...and damn scary.
This is Jaume Balagueró’s finest film so far. I enjoyed To Let and you can see how he developed his craft when making this. I’m not a huge fan of [REC] 2, mostly because it feels much the same as the first film - but not quite as good. It is solid but nothing spectacular. But that shouldn't detract from this film, it is almost inevitable that any half decent horror film gets a poor sequel - and [REC] is no exception. I’ll be interested to see where he goes with Sleep Tight, which he is soon releasing.
It is incredibly tough to rank this film when considering the best horror movies of the past decade. The House of the Devil and [REC] are certainly the two scariest films of past 10 years, for me. While House of the Devil revels in increasing tension, [REC] squeezes as many frights, jumps and chilling moments as it can into its lean 78 minute running time. If I was to recommend a modern, scary horror film to anyone this would be it.
The final scene in [REC] is absolutely unbearable. It also changes the tone of the film, in a brilliant way, as we learn about the source of the outbreak. The use of the shaky camera also makes this scene extra scary. Even just thinking about it now gives me the creeps!
The Spanish don’t muck about with horror these days, and for me this is my favourite foreign language horror of the past 10 years... maybe ever.
I can’t recommend this movie enough.