Friday, June 11, 2010
[REC] 2 (2009)
Picking up pretty much where REC left off, a group of four heavily armed and uniformed police officers storm our 'infected' apartment building with a believed representative from the Center for Disease Control (or the European equivalent) in tow. Starting off with a bang and in frantic fashion, our group comes upon a member of the infected while searching an apartment and bites one of the officers. Making work of the rabid man, our bitten member of the law quickly turns but before he can attack the group, our supposed CDC member subdues him. And so begins a plot shift which is quietly eluded to in the first film but is brought to greater light at this moment.
And really kids, I can't tell you much more for to do so, would spoil the surprise, shock, and turn you on your head, 180 plot shift. What I can say is that take any notions you have of the first film and throw them out. The way the 'infection' is handled from this point on is both unique and absolutely brilliant. Truly convention challenging and the way that its executed all the way up to and including the shocking, equally handled with adeptness and originality, ending.
I will instead focus on more of the aesthetics of the film. What also works well for it is the employment of shifts in perspective. Our officers are equipped with mounted cameras on their helmets and multiple times perspectives change within the group. One particularly harrowing moment occurs when one of them gets trapped in an apartment and we see, through the lense of the other officers in safe hiding as they change camera feeds, the tragic fate which befalls him.
The other shift occurs with a group of mischievous teens which storm the building with their own handheld camera which they've been messing around with. It may seem like the filmmakers were just trying to write-in scenarios in order to keep the first person sense of realism going and to throw the viewer off balance, but it feels natural here as the kids are shown prior to doing stupid kid stuff like goofing off and pulling pranks. And the peer pressure mounts as one of the boys convinces the others to enter the building after coming upon the wall of emergency vehicles lined in the street.
No matter what group the camera decides to focus on, the film continues to do well with what made the original so successful: taking people and throwing them into chaos, with real, natural and believable emotions being expressed. From fear, to dread, to breaking down and losing all rationale, the film brilliantly displays a world in which chaos reigns. This pulls us in as the viewer, emotionally investing us from the word 'go'.
And if all that wasn't enough, our female reporter from the original film makes an unexpected return towards the end which then leads us into another plot twist that you don't see coming.
Expertly executed, genre convention challenging, original and ultimately brilliant, REC 2 gets my vote for best horror film of 2010 (so far). OK, OK, so it was released in 2009 but the rest of the world is only getting a look- see just now, so in my book, it counts as a 2010 release. Be on the lookout for an announcement regarding the inferior American remake sometime soon.
Cortez the Killer