A brutally effective horror movie that zips along at a quick and ferocious pace and proves that found footage can still be impressive, Rec makes for a disturbingly intense experience.
Ángela Vidal( Manuela Velasco) is a peppy young reporter who along with her unseen cameraman Pablo(Pablo Rosso) is filming a documentary on the emergency services. One night while filming at the fire station when nothing seems to be happening, the firemen get a call about a lady trapped in her apartment. Ángela naturally jumps at the chance of a story and so she and Pablo tag along to the apartment block. Once inside, the firemen along with encounter the woman is distress. The woman then becomes crazed like a zombie and bites one of the firemen, throwing everyone into terror. Once removing themselves from the room and locking the woman in, the group head to the lobby. The other residents have assembled , wanting answers for what is going on. Everyone starts to panic as the military shut off the building, leaving everyone trapped inside. They hear that a virus has spread between people through saliva, explaining the crazed and feral woman. The results of the virus are rabid viciousness and the instinct to attack and bite. But as the tension mounts and panic sets in, the body count rises as people become infected by the virus and chaos reigns. Ángela and Pablo keep recording as the horror unravels, attempting to avoid being infected and savagely attacked in the now claustrophobic apartment block. One thing is for sure, it’s going to be a fight for survival as Ángela and Pablo attempt to make it through, determined that what transpires in the apartment block will be discovered even if they aren’t .
Directors and writers Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza make sure Rec lulls you into a false sense of security before unloading ultimate terror. They succeed on this score and also on making it feel realistic and like you are right in there. Once the zombie horror hits, Rec doesn’t let up with the tension and gruesome action as the kinetic point of view camera plunges us straight into the heart of the terror of this apartment block under siege. As a rule, I sometimes find that found footage movies give me a throbbing headache with the way they are shot. While Rec does include many scenes of shaky camerawork, it feels a lot smoother than most which makes it more intense and easier to follow. It’s a simple premise from Balagueró and Plaza that is shrewdly and economically directed , making for a lean and mean horror movie of vicious intent and brutal, nail-biting content. The script also allows viewers to discover things at the same time as the characters , increasing the shocks as we experience them and our guesses are stripped away by jolts of terror. The claustrophobic and hellish atmosphere is further heightened by the absence of a score. This makes everything feel realistic and lets the audience listen out for anything sudden about to happen or not. Credit too must be given to the zombie effects that look terrifying yet also in the realms of possibility as all hell breaks loose.
The main members of the cast are . Manuela Velasco, who is almost always onscreen is an appealing presence. She nails the determined and go getter persona within the part of Ángela which gives way to fighting for survival of the most terrifying sort. Velasco’s likeable charm , fight and sense of breathless terror at what she encounters are all on full display as the heroine of this story and make an impact. Though it’s only his voice that we hear, Pablo Rosso convinces as the much harangued cameraman Pablo, who is charged with capturing the horror right in front of him. The supporting cast are all convincing and seem so realistic in what they are doing. Which is totally in fitting with the almost documentary approach that Rec is going for.
Ruthlessly impressive and terrifyingly claustrophobic , Rec is a triumph of horror film making that leaves your heart pounding in fright. Even if the found footage genre of horror doesn’t often appeal to you, I highly suggest Rec as it might just change your mind.