Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Ten Days of Terror!: [REC2]

Film: [•REC]2
Format: Streaming video from Tubi TV on Fire!

The question of what constitutes a zombie is once again important in the film [•REC]2 (sometimes written as [REC2] or even [•REC]2. For ease, I’m going to write it as [REC]2, sort of the best of all worlds and avoiding dealing with that bullet). This is a sequel to [•REC], one of the better found-footage horror movies, and far superior to its American remake, Quarantine. This sequel takes place immediately following the events of the first movie; in fact, the opening moments of this and the closing moments of the first are identical.

But, it helps to be brought up to speed—it has been a few years since I’ve seen [REC]. Basically, a reporter named Angela Vidal (Manuela Velasco) was shadowing a firefighting team who get called to an apartment complex. It happens to be ground zero for what looks a lot like a zombie apocalypse, but when we get to the end seems to have more biblical apocalypse written all over it. Our patient zero is infected/infested with something, but is being held at bay by a priest with a great deal of religious iconography, lending some support to the idea that this is not just a plague, but a possession that is somehow spreading.

The first film ends (and this one begins) with Angela being dragged off into darkness by the creature, which certainly looks demonic and horrifying. Once we get that quick recap, we join what appears to be something like a SWAT team preparing to breach the building to discover what is happening. Accompanying the team is Dr. Owen (Jonathan Mellor), who it turns out is not a government official, but a priest who has been sent here by the Vatican. Why? Because the original possession victim may hold the key to ending possessions in the future. It is possible that, with a sample of her blood, something like a vaccine can be developed to prevent the infection/possession from passing to other people.

So, naturally, what is going to happen is everything possible to prevent our team from getting in, getting the blood sample, and getting out cleanly. It wouldn’t be this kind of movie if things didn’t constantly spiral into destruction and danger, and that’s precisely what is going to happen. Eventually, we’ll get an additional wrench in the works with the arrival of the father of the sick girl from the first movie, a firefighter, and a trio of teens who break into the building as something of a prank. We’ll be following their camera until they run into the team inside the building, at least for most of the second act.

In truth, [REC]2 is good, but it’s far from perfect and far from the visceral terror of the original film. It’s also a film that doesn’t carry over very well on its own. Because there are a lot of details that are not that easy to remember from [REC], it’s not a film that is very easy to follow if there is any distance between your viewing of the original and this sequel. I had literally no idea who the father is who enters the building with the firefighter in the second act—it’s only the Wikipedia write up that cued me in to who that was. Unlike horror series with a much more well-known and defined monster/cast (think Halloween or Scream), the secondary and tertiary characters of the [REC]-overse aren’t that easily remembered. It’s not that the first film isn’t great (it absolutely is), but that characterization in the first movie isn’t really that key to the watching, and it’s not given a great deal of time or effort.

Bluntly, [REC]2 is pretty much everything that you’re expecting from a film like this one. There’s a lot of blood (not gore, per se, but a bucket or two of blood) and a lot of it is kind of hard to see because of the camera work that found footage films are known for. There are a couple of fight sequences that are hard to watch because of the swinging camera, and a few others that are much easier to follow because the camera is dropped and becomes stationary.

The real truth, though, is that [REC]2 feels very planned out and doesn’t do a great deal that isn’t expected. It’s well made and there are some genuine scares, but not a lot of surprises. The idea of this being a curse/plague that passes on a sort of demonic possession is an interesting one, and it’s dug into more here—that would be a lot more interesting if it were the focus of the film in some respect, but it really isn’t. And because of that, the most interesting part of this becomes something that is dealt with almost in passing, or with a sort of acknowledgement and then not much by way of investigation.

Because of that, [REC]2 is a curiosity. It’s a fine movie and a decent sequel, but like most sequels, it’s a shadow of the original film and the original idea.

Why to watch [REC]2: A good continuation of the first film.
Why not to watch: If you don’t watch this right after the first, it’s a lot harder to follow.


  1. I still haven't seen the original film so I'll do that and then watch this one out of curiosity.

    1. The first one is great. The American remake (Quarantine) is shot-for-shot, but not nearly as good.