[REC]2 starts just after the end of [REC]. [REC] was a visceral experience; not necessarily unique, but well executed, and grounded in a documentary realism.
[REC]2 is much heavier on the cliches and magic, not to its benefit. It does, however, retain the style and pacing, making the movie more good than bad.
There’s two groups of protagonists in the movie. The first is a military swat team, who are sent into the apartment of evil to help a ‘doctor’ look for a cure. The second is a group of teens with a video camera, who don’t really add much more than an extra camera angle. Neither of the two groups are well developed as characters (there’s no slow build-up like the first movie, where we get to know everyone). They just end up being fodder for the demons.
At the end of the first movie, we learn that the zombifying plague is caused by demonic possession. In the second movie, this theme is turned up several notches, as the ‘zombie’s’ start talking in Linda Blair voices and run away from crucifixes. There’s nothing wrong with magic-based horror movies, but the more fantastical they get, the greater the disconnect, and the less the effect.
The first movie had a gritty realness to it. The setting was suitably degraded, the people varied and believable. In the sequel, the apartment building is revealed to have tunnels above and below it, and secret rooms with invisible furniture. The cast of characters that you can care about, each with their own back story, motivations, and biases, are replaced with nameless soldiers and a demon children.
A lot of the movie is filmed through the soldier’s helmets, giving the film a first person shooter video game – like feel, though this happily goes away later in the film.
The ingredients in this movie are not as good as those in the first; but the cook is still as good. So we end up with a well made movie with shallow characters, and cliched premise. It comes in a box set with the first movie in Canada, and it’s worth getting that way.