There’s nothing new in [REC], it’s essentially a zombie movie done from a camera man’s perspective. But what [REC] does possess is brilliant execution.
Angela, played by Manuela Velasco, is the host of some local TV channel’s news fluff show called ‘While You’re Asleep.’ The movie begins with her and her camera man doing a report on the local fire station. After hours of boredom, there’s finally a call, and the reporters and firefighters rush off to help an elderly woman who was heard screaming in her locked apartment.
Of course, there’s more to it than that. The old woman turns out to have a taste for human flesh, one that soon spreads.
[REC] paces its action very well. After an initial burst of violence in the apartment, there’s a long, tense build up before it erupts again. During this time, the characters want to leave and get help for the injured people, but are held back by a police blockade that has quarantined the building (which is where the American remake of this movie, Quarantine, got its name).
Eventually, the true nature of what is happening in the apartment building becomes clear, at which point the movie slams down the gas pedal and doesn’t stop until the end. This is a pure, high-tension horror movie that doesn’t waste time on characters or subplots. There’s no love interest, and no personal demons for Angela to overcome, just a desperate panicky race to survive.
The apartment itself is a little run down, and very claustrophobic. There’s a narrow, spiral staircase with two rooms on each floor. There’s no maze of hallways or vacant rooms to hide in, the protagonists are always out in the open.
The camera gimmick is actually used to good effect in the movie. Sometimes it covers for weaker special effects, but it also adds to the frantic feel (though luckily, unlike Cloverfield, it’s a professional TV camera, so it’s relatively stable throughout). The camera also plays an integral role in the final scenes, making them far more effective in the process.
This Blu Ray, the only one available in North America is a Canadian exclusive from eOne. The movie is presented in 1080P HD, which looks fine. It’s like it was filmed with a consumer digital HD camera. Well lit scenes look good, but darker scenes (the majority of the film) are a little muddy. Audio is DTS-HD Spanish and French, with removable English subtitles. Credits and titles are left in Spanish.
There’s a bunch of extras; making of, deleted scenes, interviews, etc.