Rec 2 was a movie that linked up fantastically with its predecessor. While I really enjoyed Rec 1, I was aware that my enjoyment was a shallow one. In Rec 1, the plot moved slowly, the characters had no depth, and there were many (intentional I presumed) plot holes. I believed that the plot holes were intentional as that makes it consistent with “The Fantastic” stream of horror which offers no explanation for the source of the unknown. The only “explanation” given in the Rec 1 was that the possessed girl in the penthouse must have something to do with the zombies, although nothing was confirmed. What was given to the viewers in Rec 1 was nothing but a series of thrills and scares, which left me on the edge of my seat. I left the movie feeling thoroughly frightened, but not at all impressed by the other aspects of the movie. In effect, it was a bunch of shallow thrills.
This perception completely changed when I watched Rec 2. Rec 2 was a continuation of Rec 1, set merely an hour after the first movie ended at most. Many of the plot hoes were answered and this story seemed to promise more flow. Perhaps the biggest reveal was when the film revealed that all the people in the building were in fact possessed people and not zombies. Upon learning this, I prepared myself to be frightened to death because the one thing I fear the most in horror movies is when possession is involved. There is nothing quite as scary as something that has a possibility of being true and actually happening to me.
For some reason however, Rec 2 did not frighten me, not as much as Rec 1 did at least. Sure, there were plenty of scenes that left me burying my face in my hands in frightful anticipation and the mere thought of possession is enough to keep me up at night, but Rec 2 just didn’t seem to cut it for me in terms of experiencing horror. After reflecting on this curious experience a little bit, I realized that I wasn’t so scared because the characters were male.
The characters weren’t just male in appearance, but everything about them was masculine. They carried massive weapons and had combat training but most importantly, they had a mission. The characters weren’t an adorable woman running away from morbid zombies frantically crying for her life all the way, which invoked sympathy in the audience. Instead, the male characters faced the horror head-on, actively seeking it out in order to accomplish their mission. This defeated any sense of fatalism and entrapment that was found in Rec 1 which made the first movie so terrifying. In Rec 1, there was no escape, there was no chance of survival, and there was no explanation – that was what made Rec 1 so scary. In Rec 2 however, none of the horrifying elements were present. Given, the imagery was disturbing, but it felt more like a battle between good and evil rather than a futile fight for survival against insurmountable evil.
Overall, I felt that Rec 2 was a superior movie to Rec 1 as it closed many plot holes and had more direction, but it definitely can’t match up to the horror invoked by the first installment. As such, I enjoyed Rec 1 more.