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[Rec] (2007)

Just One Witness.... A Video Camera

Starring:

Akemi Goto

Carlos Vicente

David Vert

Ferran Terraza

Jorge-Yamam Serrano

Manuel Bronchud

Manuela Velasco

Maria Teresa Ortega

Martha Carbonell

Pablo Rosso

Vicente Gil

Directed by:

Jaume Balaguero

Paco Plaza

Rating: 9/10

Running Time: 78 minutes

US Certificate: R UK Certificate: 18

Country: Spain

Horror can be a pretty standard genre where nothing remarkable happens for long periods of time. In 2007 a Spanish horror movie called [Rec] came out of nowhere, shook things up  and showed the American horror industry how to do it properly.

[Rec] centres around slightly annoying-at-first journalist Angela (Velasco) and her cameraman (Rossi) who are spending a Saturday night following around the local fire department for a television programme. Things start off pretty boring for her but when they get a call to rescue an elderly lady who is trapped in her apartment, all hell breaks loose as they come across, a household with seriously scary problems . The authorities quarantine the building so there is seemingly no way out for the stranded group – only upwards and onwards into the bowels of the building. Throughout, Angela only demands one thing of her cameraman, “Do not stop filming”.

And so comes about a first person horror that will scare the bejesus out of you. The atmosphere is dark and ominous, the original story unravels gradually and the acting is subtle and grounded. One of the main advantages of [Rec] is the quality Direction from Balaguero and Plaza – they know exactly what to show you without giving too much away and how to pace it, and they perfectly time the change in tone from cheery to tense and terrifying. I don’t want to spoil anything about the climax, let’s just say that the final ten minute scene will leave you needing a spare pair of underwear and a respirator.   

[Rec] was part of short concentrated mid-noughties effort when the first person horror genre was really fully embraced, with excellent movies like Cloverfield and Romero’s Diary of the Dead, that The Blair Witch Project had begun back in 1999. This Spanish effort was certainly the best and spawned an inferior American remake (Quarantine) and sequel ([Rec] 2).

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It's Got: Genuinely terrifying scares, more maturity and originality than the average zombie horror film, one of the great climactic horror scenes

It Needs: To be watched instead of the inferior American remake - Quarantine

DVD Extras A very thorough and enjoyable 'Making Of' documentary DVD Extras Rating: 8/10

Alternatives:

Quarantine, The Blair Witch Project, [Rec] 2

Summary

Balaguero and Plaza have perfected the first-person horror with this truly terrifying sleep-disturbing zombie tale from Spain.

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