Friday, September 23, 2011

Halloween Horror Recommendation! - [REC.]

'Halloween Horror Recommendation!' is an ongoing series where we take a quick look at some of my favorite horror movies of all time! Sometimes they are big sometimes they are small but every time they are guaranteed to make you shriek with fright! Updated every Friday from now until October 31st!


[REC.] is a film that you may have already indirectly seen as shortly after this films release a big budget American remake called Quarantine was put into production. Quarantine was almost a shot for shot remake of [REC.] and while they are both really good in there own ways, [REC.] has a few minor plot changes that end up giving it the edge over its American counterpart. If you have seen and enjoyed Quarantine there is a good chance that you might not even know that it is a remake of a very good foreign film. So lets change that and take a quick look at what makes the original such a worth while endeavor!
Just like its American counterpart, [REC.] is the story of a television reporter who stays the night at a local fire station, filming a documentary about the people who work to keep everyone safe while the rest of us are sleeping at night. When they receive a routine call about an elderly woman who is trapped in her apartment complex the reporter and the rest of the firefighters find themselves in a situation that nobody could have expected. The elderly woman attacks and bites one of the men, who subsequently falls to his death down a long stairwell. And suddenly they find the entire building sealed off with no explanation of what is going on and no way to escape. It is then that they realize they are trapped inside the building with something else. And that something else is taking over the inhabitants of the apartment and turning them into bloodthirsty, viscous killers. This is where [REC.] takes a pretty sharp left hand turn and ends up being the better of the two films because of it, but we will get to that here in just a second.



First I would like to point out that [REC.] is a foreign film, Spanish to be exact, originally released in 2007. [REC.] is Rated R for 'bloody horror violence and language' so just because its foreign doesn't mean that it is light on gore. Language options on the films DVD include Spanish (with English subtitles) or an English over-dub track. Like all foreign films I recommend watching it in its native language, in this case Spanish, and reading the subtitles. This is the way the film is meant to be viewed and almost 100% of the time the actors on screen will give you a better performance than the staged actors reading the lines in English. [REC.] currently has a 96% overall rating on Rotten Tomatoes and won five different awards during its initial release, including a Best Director and Best New Actress.

Since Quarantine was literally a shot for shot remake of [REC.] I am sure you are probably wondering why you would want to watch what is in essence the exact same film, only in Spanish. Well lets visit Quarantine's plot for a minute and you will soon see why [REC.] has the far superior plot. Quarantine starts off exactly the same. The story of a TV reporter who stays the night at a local fire station. She follows the firefighters to a seemingly routine call out about an elderly woman who needs assistance in her apartment building. The old woman attacks the men and sooner rather than later they find themselves trapped in the building and have no idea why. Quarantine later goes on to explain that a mutated form of the rabies virus has broken out and that is what is causing the people in the apartment to turn into crazy zombie like beings who are trying to kill everyone. And that is why the government has sealed off the building and isn't letting anyone in or out of the complex. To keep the virus from spreading. There is nothing wrong with this plot, it makes since and is easy to follow. I am not faulting Quarantine one bit for how it handled its own ending. But [REC.] on the other hand... chose to do things just a little bit different.

In [REC.] our news reporter is forced upstairs to the apartments attic just like in Quarantine but here she finds that the person who lives up here is not researching the rabies virus. No, this individual is actually an agent of the Vatican whose been doing some heavy research into demonic possession. He believes that there is actually a biological cause behind possession and thinks he can cure it. At some point he actually kidnaps a little girl who is believed to be possessed and brings her to his apartment to experiment on her. He does indeed find a biological cause for her possession but unfortunately for him he causes it to become airborne and spread like a disease in the process. So in effect everyone in [REC.] is not only sick with this disease but they are actually possessed individuals as well! I think it is a great plot twist and one that you would not see coming. I love possession films in general so seeing this new take on the genera was really cool. These minor plot changes combined with the slightly lower budget of the film make up for an interesting experience that I think every horror movie fan should check out! [REC.] is currently available on DVD, though you may have to special order a copy online, but I strongly suggest giving this title a spin!

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