August 11, 2012

[REC]² (2009)

"The action continues from [REC], with the medical officer and a SWAT team outfitted with video cameras are sent into the sealed off apartment to control the situation."

It's very rare that a sequel turns out to be better than the original movie and, I'm pleased to say, "[REC]²" was no exception to the rule. Why am I pleased to say that? Well, if "[REC]²" had actually been better then I would have been forced to like more Spanish horror movies again, and start collecting everything by Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza.

The thing is, Spanish horror movies are so hit or miss anyway that I'm sure most of us can only name about half a dozen of them that we've actually gone out of our way to add to our collections. I know that I only have that amount because, although I have a lot of Spanish movies, I've found that Spanish filmmakers are simply much better in other genres.

The rarity of "[REC]" as a good Spanish horror movie allowed it to become severely overrated by a lot of fans of the genre. It was, therefore, no surprise to me that "[REC]²" wouldn't be quite so fresh or up to the same standard.

I'm tempted to just write "[REC]²" off with the quasi-algebraic equation of "[REC]² = Quake + Demons 2 + [REC] + Satan's Triangle + The Hidden" and leave it at that, but that wouldn't be much of a review. Certainly, "[REC]²" was neither very original or particularly good which is why I've waited until just before watching the second sequel, "[REC]³ Génesis", to say anything about it. I'm not keen on reviewing sequels anyway.

Just like "[REC]", "[REC]²" owed a lot to computer games. The first half not only felt but also looked just like a first person shooter ("FPS" as gamers refer to such things). If you've ever played "Doom", "Blood", "Quake", "Halo" or whatever, you'll know exactly what I mean. While this might work for a movie adaptation of a computer game such as "Doom" (2005) - although, ironically, it didn't - it doesn't feel right in what was supposed to be yet another found footage movie. I will admit that the kills were pretty good though.

In fact, the whole "found footage" thing was a pretty weak link in this. Cameras were just too conveniently placed, and, with everybody filming everything, the threat that nobody would be believed was stupid as well.

For everyone getting bored with the surprisingly skittish SWAT team, a group of kids who conveniently had a camcorder on them tried to bring the same chaotic feel as the original "[REC]" back into the movie, but, by then, it was too late.

Although it was at this point when I realised that both "[REC]" and "[REC]²" were little more than found footage versions of "Demons 2" (1986) in many ways, Ángela Vidal's later reappearance and the denouement reminded me a lot more of "Satan's Triangle" (1975). This kind of thing would normally have made me happy if it hadn't had such a predictable twist.

Without spoiling it even more for you, I'll just say that "The Hidden" (1987) had a lot to answer for with how Ángela survived. Did "[REC]²" jump the shark with this intentionally or was it just a bad film which was beyond saving anyway? My money is on the latter.

I haven't put a movie into "The Dungeon" for a while now but "[REC]²" definitely belongs there.

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