1 May 2010

Ally's Review: [REC] 2

The modern film industry is so bereft of fresh ideas that whenever a movie brings something new and exciting to the table it inevitably has to be given a sequel… or a prequel… or (if it's foreign) a remake. Horror is probably the worst genre of them all for churning out sequels, squeezing everything it can out of a great original idea. In that sense, a sequel to the superb [REC] was a dead cert.

[REC] 2 decides to continue where the first movie left off. This time a group of policemen enter the cordoned off Barcelona townhouse. Immediately the film feels very familiar to those who saw the first one. As an audience member you do feel nervous, because you know from experience that you are going to deal with very tense and jumpy moments. It doesn't take long for the action to resume and from that point on you are on a 85 minute roller coaster…

Except the roller coaster's not quite as much fun the second time around. The difficulty that a sequel to [REC] faced was how to move the story on from the first one. Essentially Juame Balaguero and Paco Plaza decided to go through largely the same process as the first one - guys go in largely ignorant of how bad the situation is, lots of carnage ensues, and then we find out more about the cause of it all. One of the problems with creating a movie with such a similar narrative and style is that it loses its potency to shock, frighten and delight the audience.

I was left pretty cold as we left the cinema. The first film not only felt fresh and original, it also had a lot of humour and charm: the characters were pretty engaging. [REC] 2 unfortunately focuses too much on the action and unveiling a major twist on the story. The twist of what actually happened after the events of the first film is pretty divisive for the audience (well, it certainly was for the Horror Club audience). I think it's a potential deal breaker for the film, and what you think of it will decide how much you enjoy the movie. Fin absolutely hated it and wrote the movie off after it, Clarky didn't mind it and quite enjoyed the movie. Personally, I didn't hate it but I just thought it was a bit silly, and I pretty much lost interest. Once the jumps and tension had faded from memory there wasn't much left to take away from the film. You can see the disparity between the three of us reflected in where we rank it on our individual lists (Here, here and here). By way of comparison, all three of us were blown away by the way the first movie wrapped up.

Inevitably, [REC] 3 is in the works and I'm sure it will be worse than the second film. Although they've wisely decided to move the action to a new setting, so who knows? The fact that Balaguero isn't attached to it does make me think the worst though...

If you haven't seen the original you could watch this movie with little confusion and you'd probably really enjoy it, but because it's so similar to the first one comparisons are inevitable for the rest of us. The original is one of the best horror movies of the last 20 years, so it's always going to be tough for the second one to shine in its own right, especially when they decided to make it so similar. Still, I'm sure it made Balaguero and Plaza a lot of money, so fair play to them. It's definitely not the worst sequel ever made and I would probably rate the film higher if I hadn't seen the first film (although I'd still think the twist was mangled).

Fairly frightening, but forgettable fare

1 comment:

  1. I did like it at the time as you noted, but am hard pushed to remember much about it now. It may well be ranked to high on my list in hindsight, but at the time I enjoyed it.

    They are actually making 2 more REC films (Genesis and Apocalypse I think) and instead of co-directing them Plaza and Balaguero are directing an instalment each. THe style seems to be a bit different and I don't think that it is hand held this time (or at least not all of it is).

    I think you we are going to be treated / subjected to both a prequel and a sequel, with Genesis showing us the origin of the virus, before Apocalypse closes the saga.

    Not sure how I feel about this, but I think I will need to see them as the completist in me demands that I watch them. However, the same completist part of me made me watch The Phantom Menace and Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull, which doesn't bode well!

    Check out the Rec Genesis trailer below, it certainly looks intriguing to me.



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