I was never an easily scared person, and most horror films were and still are merely jokes for me. By third grade I was seeing ‘I Know What You Did Last Summer’ and thinking, “Now that just doesn’t make sense”. Because you see, there’s a new sub-genre going on in cinema - for this case, let’s just call it old-concept-remade-with-certein-factors-jumping-at-you-out-of-the-darkness-every-few-minutes-and-trying- to-scare-the-shit-out-of-you horror films, and you might as well have some examples to present of this new sub-genre. So They came and showed me this trailer for a film, it’s called ‘Rec’ they said, and all I saw in the two trailers was a girl screaming and people screaming while watching the film. Yawn. Takes more than that to scare me. But hey, I’m a curious person, so I had to check out what was all that screaming about.
I wish I hadn’t. Though I’m still pleased I did.
The main character in [●REC] is Ángela, a spanish reporter portrayed by Manuela Velasco (that, if I may say, is so hot that she actually manages to distract you from the horrors on screen at times), that together with her cameramen is out on the field checking out how firemen do their job at night for a TV show. When a low priority call about an old lady screaming in her apartment reaches the headquarters, Ángela and Pablo, her cameramen, rush to the scene together with the firemen to check out what’s going on. They find out the police is already there, and they go up to the apartment to find an old lady, covered with blood and looking like she’s about to bite somebody.
And she does. The policeman.
Having a fatal wound, the firemen take the policeman down so they can get him on an ambulance, but discover that the police, together with the army, has the building on quarantine. And things are about to get stranger…
Oh shit, just don’t make me think about it. [●REC] belongs to the subgenre known for us as old-concept-remade-with-certein-factors-jumping-at-you-out-of-the-darkness-every-few-minutes-and-trying- to-scare-the-shit-out-of-you horror films, but it does it so good that you will barely notice. I don’t know what was it, but I literally felt pain with every zombie jumping on screen: the atmosphere was so intense and everything before it was so damn scary that at some point you want to grab your keys and run the fuck away from your house. I nearly gave up on this film, at least once for sure.
Did I say atmosphere? Well, let me explain. For those of you who don’t know, [●REC] was filmed, as it’s premise hints, in one hand camera, and the cameraman himself is a character in the film, as you might remember. Of course you will inmediatly say ‘Blair Witch Project’, but believe me, everything that The Blair Witch Project lacks this film has multiplied by 10. This was as scary as… I don’t know what to compare this with. This really was one of the scariest things I ever saw, though to be honest, 90% of all horror films I ever saw were crap.
And the great thing is, all you need to do [●REC] is the will to do it. You don’t really need much – camerawork is mostly spontaneous, dialogues are most probably improvised, and you don’t need more than class B actors and one seriously hot reporter. All you really need is a good location, knowing how to work out well a basic concept and one hell of a make-up department – and these three and perfectly covered.
So in a few words, what makes [●REC] better than other low-budget horror films, or so many films in general, when it’s actually quite a simple film? Well, it’s planned extremely well. The atmosphere, as I mentioned, is built so that it reaches a point where you believe it can’t get more intense, and then a zombie jumps out, kicks you in the stomach and prove you oh so wrong. It’s really a film I wouldn’t miss if I’m looking for a good scare; sadly enough, next year the american remake is coming out and will obviously ruin everything [●REC] managed and will become a low standard old-concept-remade-with-certein-factors-jumping-at-you-out-of-the-darkness-every-few-minutes-and-trying- to-scare-the-shit-out-of-you horror film. But this here, this spanish low budget horror film, this thing I can’t get off my mind – oh, this is some serious shit. Even if you’re not much into horror films, I think you can’t miss this one. What is it I enjoyed so much about nearly crapping my pants? I don’t know, but whatever it was, I enjoyed it. Oh, and did I mention Manuela Velasco is fucking hot?