Back in 2009 (on this very blog) I declared REC as the scariest movie I’d ever seen. Though I’m not sure if that’s still true I honestly can’t think of what could have topped it since. Clocking in at only 75 minutes, REC uses every second to create non-stop terror. A creative combination of claustrophobia, handheld cameras, and sheer madness leaves for quite an experience that I’m not still not sure I’m ready to revisit.
Ángela Vidal (Manuela Velasco) is a television reporter in Barcelona who along with her cameraman Pablo (Pablo Rosso) is filming a segment for a show about people who work nightshift jobs. On this particular night, Angela accompanies a couple of firefighters called out on a disturbance to a local apartment building. What starts out as routine call soon escalates into a viral breakout transforming residents into enraged psychopaths. The building becomes quarantined and the next thing you know, everyone is trapped in a frightening fun house of thrills and chills.
I’ve always been a proponent of the found-footage movement and this is the most effective example I can think of. The audience is literally trapped in an enclosed space and has no choice but to follow along with Angela and her cameraman. The diseased adversaries feel real and any sense of hope is gone right off the bat. It’s hard not to be locked into this film from the get go.
REC was remade in 2008 as the American film Quarantine starring Jennifer Carpenter. The consensus seems to be that although both of the films are very similar, REC is grittier, faster paced and less melodramatic. In its native Spain, REC is a franchise that now includes three films with a fourth one on the way. I’ve never had any interest in seeing the formula repeated, so I’ll stick with the original, thank you. Still, if you want a freaky flick, check REC!