Review: REC 2 by Jamie

Massive Spoilers Ahead

The original ‘REC’ was one of those rare horror films which managed to creep me out, in particular the end scene with the creepy Zombie girl stumbling around in the dark waving that hammer. There was just something about the way that thing and the way it moved that just put me on edge. It’s probably one of those images that will stick with me for the rest of my life. Fuck, just sitting here thinking about it now is sending a shiver up my spine.

In fact, I still remember the first time that I watched it. For those of you that don’t know I am currently employed as a hotel Night Porter, a position which enables me to watch films whilst I work. I watched REC whilst at work, got proper scared and then had to spend the rest of the night going about performing my workly duties terrified that I was suddenly going to be attacked by some hideous Zombie abomination wielding a hammer. It was a bad night but a great film.

So I was genuinely looking forward to the sequel REC 2. Of course, I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect and sequels generally have a tendency to fail to recapture the feeling that made the first film so great but there are definitely exceptions to that rule. Jaws: The Revenge, for example, is a far superior film to the original… I’m sorry, I threw up a little in my mouth just joking about that. Anyway, the point is would REC 2 live up to my expectations? Let’s find out.

The film takes place pretty much moments after the ending of the first one. A Grupo Especial de Operaciones (GEO) team, which I’m guessing is basically the Spanish equivalent of a SWAT team, are sent into the quarantined building from the first film, each with cameras mounted on their helmets. Joining them is a representative from the Spanish Ministry of Health, Dr Owen. Before long their Zombies are falling from ceilings and the battle begins. Dr. Owen manages to fight off the creatures using rosary beads and mantras and it’s revealed that he’s not actually from the Ministry of Health at all but is actually a priest. I guess this was kept quiet because there are potentially children in that building and well… you know…

I kid, of course. It turns out that the whole infection is actually due to something that the Catholic Church would really like to keep hidden. Basically the deal is thus, a catholic priest was doing experiments in the penthouse of the building on a possessed girl in order to see if some kind of scientific cure for demonic possession could be created, treating the demon as some kind of virus. Unfortunately the experiments led to the demonic infection spreading hence the current situation. Owen needs to find a blood sample from the girl in order to try and finish the priest’s work and find a cure. Unfortunately, due to some demonic blood catching fire related mishaps, the sample is destroyed and they need to get another sample from the original girl.

Whilst all this is going on a fireman, the father of the girl from the first movie (the one who was sick, not the Zombie girl… although she did eventually become a Zombie girl… The one who wasn’t the one at the end with the hammer… There, I think that sorts it out) and three teenagers sneak into the building through the sewer system only to find themselves sealed inside. They also get attacked by Zombies and, after a while and a few deaths, the two groups come across each other as well as Angela, the reporter from the original film. One of the teenagers, Tito, gets bitten and Owen ties him up and forces him to tell them where the original possessed girl is. It seems as though the infectious nature of the possession has created a hive mind where the demon’s consciousness can inhabit anyone of the infected. Tito basically tells them that she’s in the penthouse and the team go up there, though they are somewhat confused as to why they didn’t see her when they were up there before.

Owen asks Angela how she saw the girl before and she explains that it was through the night vision on the camera she had with her. Tito had also mentioned that the light blinded their path and Owen figures out that maybe they can only see the girl in the dark with the aid of night vision. Anyway, they find the girl but Angela shoots her with a shotgun, pissing off Owen because he needed her alive. Angela doesn’t care because all she wants is to get the fuck out of the building, which is really rather understandable to be honest. She starts to beat the shit out of Owen in order to try and get him to authorise their departure and when the one remaining GEO officer tries to get her to stop, she shoots him. Owen then realises that the demon has possessed Angela. She reveals that she can impersonate his voice, kills him, radios the outside and tells them using Owen’s voice that, though he is infected, he is authorising the exit of one female survivor. It is then revealed through a flash back that when the Zombie girl caught Angela during the end of the last film, she didn’t kill her, she just deposited a large, fleshy thing which I’m guessing is the demon into her mouth. Unfortunately this reminded me of ‘Friday The 13Tth IX: Jason Goes To Hell’ which is one of the worst films of that particular franchise and that’s saying something.

Well that was REC 2. So what did I think of it? In all honestly, I was actually pretty disappointed. The film just lacked that certain, indescribable something that the original had. It also left me pretty fucking confused about a number of things. Firstly, just how much influence does the Catholic Church have over the Spanish government? Is it really so much that they can use their resources in order to propagate massive cover-ups regarding mass demonic possession? Seriously, is the way things happen in European countries where their King didn’t break ties with Mother Church because he wanted to get a divorce? It just seemed highly unlikely is all I’m saying.

Secondly, the idea that you couldn’t see the Zombie girl in the light just really pissed me off. She’s still a physical being right? She’s not become a ghost, I mean she can still carry a hammer, so why is she’s invisible in the dark? The explanation that the light blinds them from seeing the path seemed a little lacking, especially because at that point she doesn’t even have the physical demon inside her anymore, Angela does. Surely she’s the one who should be invisible… I dunno. I honestly think that the only reason they did it is because they knew how people reacted to seeing her in the first film purely through the night vision camera and didn’t want to dilute that by showing her in the light.

Thirdly, the teenagers were fucking annoying.

Despite it’s faults, this is still a moderately enjoyable Spanish horror film but that’s the problem. It’s only moderately enjoyable and I’m sure that viewing it back to back with the original would only make it seem worse. I expected so much more from this and just came away feeling disappointed though I did find the idea of a Zombie hive-mind kind of interesting and certainly something I don’t think I’ve seen before although it does beg the question as to if one Zombie spots them why don’t the rest instantly know where they are and head there to attack them. It’s also a pretty interesting take on the possession genre which, let’s be honest, has been pretty much been ‘The Exorcist’ and movies very much like it since the 70s. Oh, and the picture in picture stuff was kinda cool as well. It’s kind of the logical progression of that last scene in the ‘The Blair Witch Project’, enabling you to watch one character go investigate one thing whilst still hearing the audio from the other characters as well.

Oh, and that Zombie girl was still creepy, shambling and waving that hammer about. Overall, REC 2 gets three pints out of five. Laterz


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