Review of Zombie-Horror Film [REC]
REC (stylised as [●REC]) is a 2007 Spanish horror film co-written and co-directed by Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza. It served as the original for the American remake, "Quarantine" and its sequel, as well as three direct sequels of its own. It follows a young female reporter who follows, with her faithful cameraman, Pablo, some firefighters for the purposes of making a tv special on the jobs of said firemen. Shot in the "found footage" style, the viewers see exactly what Pablo films.
The film starts with our "heroine", Angela, introducing her tv special in which she will take the viewer on an exciting adventure through the job of local firefighters (If only she knew the excitement about to occur!). She does cutsie little activities like try on a firefighter's outfit, visit the men in the dining hall, and play basketball. The alarm sounds and Angela and Pablo rush to a nearby truck to hitch a ride to a nearby apartment complex where, apparently, a woman is in need of emergency assistance.
The people inside, your average citizen nobody's, are all up and discussing the events in excitement while the policeman inside tries to get these morons under control. The firemen, with the crew, are lead up to the apartment where they break in in order to assess the situation. The suspense builds a bit as the men travel slowly toward the blood soaked overweight elderly woman. The policeman tries to calm the woman, to no avail, before she vicously rips into his flesh with her teeth. Angela, as helpful as she will be throughout the film, screams as the men try and pry the hungry lady off the policeman.
Gushing blood, the policeman is carried to the lobby where, it is discovered, the building has been sealed and no one is allowed out. Another, less bitten, policeman tries to communicate with people outside, but is told to remain calm and inside the building. In all the stress, the policeman requests Pablo to stop filming, but Angela refuses. While the residents freak the hell out as the policeman fails to calm them, the body of a firefighter falls from the stairwell above to the lobby floor. The men go up to investigate and shoot, as they should have a long time ago, the infected lady.
At this point in the film, the residents find all potential exists to the building have been sealed and all communicative measures severed. A mother with a sick child, apparently tonsillitis, claims she needs immediate medical attention. The panicked atmosphere of the film has built, at this point, as the residents feel helpless to escape and endangered to stay. Angela, the reporter she is, interviews the residents and their very insightful commentary on the situation thus far. Something of value we do learn, however, is that the child's who is sick, dog, Max, is not here because he was taken to the vet. This connection is completed once a health inspector enters the building and, after the two injured men turn and are blocked off, says the infection originated with a suspicious dog, named Max, whose aggressive behavior lead to this investigation.
Coincidentally, the girl, who turned out to not quite have tonsillitis, turns at that moment and throws up blood in her mother's face. She shrieks and runs upstairs. The policeman and last remaining firefighter chase her and attempt to restrain her in order to give her a shot of some sort of vaccine or suppressor the health inspector gave them.
The policeman is bit by this little cutie, and Angela and Pablo run back downstairs where the mother is handcuffed to the rails. This naturally proves to be a problem as the two infected men attempt to break through the door which blocks them from the lobby. The survivors are forced to leave her behind as the "zombies" break though and take refuge in a resident's apartment, where the inspector, who had abandoned the efforts, as also hidden. Angela, Pablo, and the last firefighter must flee from there as well due to the inspector turning and attacking the resident.
As a last resort, the trio flee through the now zombie-infested stairwells to try one last avenue of escape, the penthouse which is owned by a Madrid man and is always vacant. Angela and Pablo are cut off from the firefighter, who unrealistically break a zombie's neck and is quite handy with a mallet. Angela finds the keys needed and rushes to the penthouse with Pablo, as the firefighter was not handy enough.
In the penthouse, they discover creepy newspapers and medical equipment decorating the walls and tables. The papers all read of a girl who was suspected of being possessed by a demon. Using only the camera flashlight for visibility, the two search around to find further disturbing religious items and newspapers. While sorting though documents detailing the same girl, Angela comes across a tape recorder, which has records of a man detailing an experiment and infection dealing with the girl. Apparent complications were made and the man states he must seal off the room, as per orders.
Losing the light when an infected boy strikes at it from above, Pablo uses night-vision to see his way around. What he sees, however, is the physically demented girl-creature that was used and held in captivity. They both remain silent in fear as the blind monster feels its way around the room. To the dismay of poor Pablo, someone was clumsy and knocked over a table, which alarmed the creature to attack them both with a hammer. Pablo is beaten to death while Angela flees, in vain. She falls to the ground, camera just beyond her reach, groping around in the darkness just before letting out a high-pitch scream as she is pulled into the darkness.
Conclusion: A unique and entertaining, not to mention scary, films that delivers fright both in the forms of zombies and evil governments. The combined threat of being devoured and being sniped makes for a great story and scary atmosphere throughout the film. As helpless as our main character is, running around in the dark screaming "Pablo! Pablo!," she is still valuable enough for the viewer to care about her. A great film, especially if you don't care about subtitles.
SPOILER (Ending of film)
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