Every so often a horror movie comes along that utilises many of the standard horror tropes but does it so well, it rises above the murky depths. One such film was Rec, a zombie, found-footage horror.
Co-written and directed by Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza, Rec is a 2007 Spanish horror film that was so successful it saw a ‘shot for shot’ American remake called Quarantine a year later.
Rec begins with reporter Ángela Vidal (Manuela Velasco) & her cameraman covering the night shift in one of Barcelona’s local fire stations for the documentary television series While You’re Sleeping.
It’s here we get to know Ángela and see just how driven she is. It’s also where we’re introduced to the firemen, Álex (David Vert) and Manu (Ferrán Terraza). Two of the most likeable characters in a modern zombie movie.
The firehouse gets a call about an elderly woman who is trapped in her apartment and screaming. They head off to investigate with Ángela and cameraman in tow. Once there they meet some of the residents who are upset & worried about the woman.
When they go into her apartment though, she attacks one of the police officers biting him on the neck. They manage to subdue her & attempt to get the injured officer out only to discover that they have been locked in by the military.
Panic ensures as a loudspeaker informs them that they are quarantined while a potential contagion is investigated. Seeing a chance to get a real story, Ángela starts to interview residents but things take an even darker turn when whatever affected the old woman begins to spread.
Rec is a brilliant horror film. One that is terrifying & effective even though it isn’t doing anything new. At this stage found-footage wasn’t the albatross it would become & while many of the more frustrating elements about it are present here, it rarely detracts from the enjoyment. The shaky camera work, the darkened scenes, the close-ups…it all makes sense in relation to what is happening in the apartment block.
The acting is solid from everyone, being a Spanish horror film there could be the possibility of nuances getting lost in translation but that isn’t the case here.
Tense from beginning to end, Rec is a horror where you will slowly lose all hope. There is no way out for anyone. The finale is thrilling & while it doesn’t sequel-bait it leaves plenty of room for further films (which there would be).
If you’ve not seen Rec then make sure you watch it. It is one of the best modern zombie films & a showcase of how to do found-footage correctly.