Zombies seem to be everywhere these days, and media is no exception. Films including Zombieland, 28 Days Later, 28 Weeks Later, Dawn of the Dead and even the famous TV Series “The Walking Dead” boast storylines packed with zombies. The Spanish movie Rec was a type of “found footage” movie where the scenes being shown came from the videographer’s point of view. Like any other film, Rec follows the basic formula of a horror film where normality is disturbed by a foreign object in the form of a monster. Entrapment and helplessness are also elements of horror that were used. In the movie, the lead character Angela, was reporting for a local television station for a documentary called “While You’re Asleep”. Angela along with her cameraman film at a fire station and wait for an emergency call. Once the the call came, the firefighters were dispatched to an apartment building with a mysterious infection. The moment they arrive, the building was sealed by officials who seem to know a lot more about this mysterious infection – leaving everyone inside vulnerable to death and becoming undead.
I’m not usually a fan of the zombie genre, especially now that it’s being overused, but I enjoyed watching the movie Rec. The filmmakers decided to try to give meaning to the origin of the monster, and this effort (to me) made the movie much better instead of ruining the plot. Towards the end of the film, it was revealed in the tapes that there was a young girl who showed signs of possession – a girl who was ordered to be killed by Rome. Despite this, the man who was responsible for the possessed, kept the girl alive to try and find a cure for this possession which manifested as a zombie-like infection. The concepts demonic possession and a full-blown epidemic don’t usually go together, but became a welcome plot twist in Rec – both frightening to think about. Even the movie’s “Last Startle”, where Angela was dragged away from the camera, provided an open ending for the viewers to interpret themselves. The only problem I had with the film was that it was foreign, and I think reading the subtitles made me more disconnected and less easy to “scare”.
All in all, I think that even though the movie already had disturbing elements, it was the plot that made it seem much more like a horror film. In the past, we have talked about the Moral Horror where the plot seems to teach people (either the characters, the audience or both) about what is right and wrong. Those kinds of movies put the responsibility on the characters in the movie who play the moral agent. The person who performed the experiments on the possessed girl was the moral agent but chose to treat everyone as an “other”. He did not see the possessed as a girl who needed help, but a possible ticket to fame for the discovery of a “cure to possession”. He oppressed this “other”, and did not even attain his goal, the consequences of his actions being the main conflict in the film. I liked the film and it’s attempt at dramatizing the conflict between the priority of the self or the “other”, and am looking forward to the 2nd installment in the Rec Trilogy.