Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Second Annual FMS Scarelicious October Movie Series - Movie #2: [REC]2

[REC] was the ninth movie I watched last October for the First Ever FMS Scarelicious October Movie Series and wow, I just loved it.  It was original, scary as hell and quite well done.  [REC]2 picks up just moments after the first movie ended.

The sequel is filmed using the same conceit as the first: a squad of four cops accompany a doctor into the quarantined Barcelona apartment buildings, recording the whole thing on their helmet cams.  The entry is sealed behind them and will only be opened upon voice recognition from the doctor - so it behooves the cops to protect him or they'll never get out.  The entry way and staircase are awash in blood but there are no bodies to be seen.  The doctor leads his team up to the penthouse apartment to begin their search for something from which to develop an antidote.  During the search, of course, they are attacked and one of the cops is infected.  When the doctor locks the infected cop in a room and hangs a crucifix on the door, the other cops demand to know WTF is going on.  As it turns out, the doctor is actually a priest and the infected rage-zombies are demonically possessed; the priest needs to procure a sample of blood from the original possessee, who was a young girl years ago, whom another priest was experimenting on in this building.  The cops are less than happy about all this but go along with it.

Around this time, the father from the first movie who went to the pharmacy for antibiotics and was locked out has convinced a firefighter to let him into the building.  Three teenagers with a videocamera see them sneak in through a sewer tunnel and follow.  Unfortunately for everyone, the police outside see them going in and weld their entry point shut.  Now they're stuck.  The movie at this point switches from the cops' helmet cam POV to the teenagers' camera POV, which makes for an interesting switch as the two groups of characters finally meet.  Things go from bad to worse as more infected/possessed rage-zombies come out of the woodwork and whittle the group down one by one.  In the end, the priest and the last surviving cop return to the penthouse SPOILER where they find Angela, the reporter from the first movie, has inexplicably survived.  The last minutes of [REC]2 are back in the penthouse, in the dark, illuminated only by Angela's camera's night vision and her survival goes from inexplicable to explicable, for better or worse.

[REC]2 is by far a weaker movie than its excellent predecessor, although I admit my opinion may be colored by the fact that I watched R2 in broad daylight, which pretty much negates any fear factor.  I still liked the real-time story-telling but it no longer felt original.  I did not like the demonic possession explanation for what was going on; the first movie was scary in part because we had no idea why this was happening to  people; [REC]2 had the priest doing too much exposition and that slowed things down some.  And demonic possession can be tough to do: watching a bloody, disgusting little girl speaking in a hoarse demon voice was too much of a callback to The Exorcist and ain't nothing can compare with that.  The second bottle rocket bit (not the sex doll one) was a nice touch, however.

Sequels are tough to pull off, especially when the first movie is so good and feels like such an original idea (see also The DescentThe Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity].  I appreciate the attempt [REC]2 makes, and I absolutely did the movie a disservice by watching at 11:00 a.m., but even so, the second falls far short of the first.

Up next:  My Soul to Take or The Devil's Backbone, whichever shows up first.

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