Reviewed By Ross Hughes
“The Simple truth is, REC 2 surpasses all our expectations and more!”………..
It all started with a certain film called Total Recall. James Cameron was asked to write up the story and spent a few months coming up with a draft only for the then meeting between the executives to go down the drain. What he came up was not what the studio wanted and he sat there dismayed at the months of creative waste and he was all set to leave the office when he asked a simple question. “Is there anything else I can do?” , the reply stunned him, like fireworks going off in his head. “Well”, they replied, “we do own any rights for an A L I E N sequel.
Of course the rest is history, A L I E N S is regarded has one of the greatest sequels ever put to film. Cameron changing the tone from a full horror to an action piece of highest proportions which even to this day, divides fans of the franchise to which film is the best. The horror and lovers of slow burner fans, prefer Scott’s vision of the chest buster, while the action junkies can not get enough of the marines in action and Ripley’s smack down with that bitch!. Many including me thought that those two films bringing so much quality could never be repeated. Sequels are well known for just following the same path of what went before, many offering nothing new and you can probably count on one hand those that actually match if not better the original.
REC was the 2007 Spanish horror that thrilled horror fans all over the world. Its simple concept of a film crew and firemen answering an emergency call in a building only to be sealed in and then attacked by Zombies, as become well known as probably the finest Zombie film since a certain George done a Night and Dawn double, and also created an American version called Quarantine staring Deb’s from TV show Dexter that respected the original film so much that it was virtually a shot to shot remake. Fans of the spanish film were not too disappointed by the treatment that the Americans done of their beloved film even though it lacked a certain edge that made REC stand out! What they were waiting for more than anything was news of a sequel, and when it was announced that in 2010, a follow up will be released, it had a mouth watering appeal, even though many doubts were aired that REC2 could not match the tone and dread that its original wonderfully done.
A L I E N S and their marines on the march, is a concept that some horror sequels have tried to copy. The recent Descent 2 went down this path but like many before it, failed to inject the energy that matched that Space flick. Having had a normal people being attacked by mad people in the original, it was only evitable that REC2 would follow the same path of men with guns enter the building. Even when we see the POV of the SWAT team going around each room and their names on the corner of the screen brings back memories of that A L I E N S game on the playstation. Copying a much loved film’s style as been many other directors downfall, and while REC2 seemed a good idea on paper, it smacked of “seen it all before” film making………… how wrong I was !
The simple truth is, REC2 surpasses all our expectations and more. It really is a sequel that matches A L I E N S in every single department. It follows Cameron’s blueprint from start to finish, with Jaume Balaguero and Paco Plaza taking full credit for writing and directing a film that will have all fans of REC loving every single second of mayhem. The film carries on at the same stage of the climax of the original. A SWAT team enter the building with a Ministry of Health inspector, only to be greeted by the blood soaked residents who are after a quick bite. It is here when they are attacked that the film shows its first twist, that the Inspector is in fact a priest, sent there to find a blood sample and under orders that they are not allowed to leave the building until that test tube is found. Why is there a priest amongst the SWAT team? well you have to watch, but if you think this is Zombie film then you are in for one heck of a shock. The sudden change of focus and plot brings the freshness that is required for this sequel. It really is a bolt from the blue, especially when the “zombies” start speaking. It really is a genius of a move from the makers, that makes you realise that this is not just any normal virus, this is in fact something a lot worse, something that makes 28 days Later a much lesser problem.
It then follows the original of characters running around trying to survive, but the film then takes a quite barmy other route, involving that Penthouse and that “attic”. Yes, we then go into the world of Dr Who with no Prisoner Zero in sight. Doors that are not there to the naked eye, are seen in night vision, the impossible becoming the possible, and when a welcome return of a familiar face appears out of nowhere, it is at that point you realise that REC the franchise has ideas that no other Zombie film has done before and what you are watching is something really special.
Its not perfect by any means. Zombies attacking the camera and the sound going all muffed are a bit too many for my liking, and at times its quite hard to see what is happening with all the attacks and fighting. But those are minor grumbles has the excitement that comes from the screen is overwhelming. Not many films deserve to be compared to the A L I E N double, but can I dare say, these two deserve to be up there in terms of quality. There will also create the same sort of argument between fans to which film is the best. For me, REC is the better film, only because its more horror in tone, but that should not take any credit away from REC2 in which I would not argue with anyone who says that one is better.
Interesting though is the path this takes. With REC2 ending in the same style as the original, does it follow the same destructive path that ruined A L I E N. I can tell you that next year REC: Genesis will be released and directed by Paco Plaza and will be a prequel to the events of the original, and how this virus came about. It will be then followed the following year by REC: Apocalypse with Jaume Balaguero jumping in the chair, and carrying on from the cliff-hanger to REC 2…..it suggests that it has all been worked out by the creators and if they can get it right, REC the franchise, could become the greatest Zombie series ever put to film……
OVERALL: Exciting, wonderful, energetic, REC 2 is everything you wished for, one of thee best sequels ever filmed……