Rec2, in the wake of Rec, is telling of how the genre of horror works. For one thing, there was less to expect and to find cryptic as the movie goes in earlier with an exposition of the events that lead up to the sequel. But also, as having watched the first movie, I still found the scares and panic moments quite fresh and also still quite vivid. No matter how often you see something in the horror genre, if it still manages to cause that feeling of absolute dread and shock, it’s still working.
I liked how with Rec2, the movie managed to tell and explore a new angle that the movie’s franchise just barely explored in its earlier iteration. The religious aspect coming into play in the horror genre is a very interesting dynamic. On the one hand, we had the horror genre’s titular key characters like the zombie-like possessed horrors being the corporeal and manifest fear to the audience, but on the other, religion plays that intangible and passive tool on the side of humanity. It’s interesting how in the horror genre we always think that the opposite of the source of horror lies within the opposite of the spiritual spectrum, religion.
Classically always about Good vs Evil, the horror genre has built religion up as a literary device that, while being often passive and inert, is that enabling factor, that empowering trope against the monster. However, that moment where the Horror and the Religious clash is, in itself, a moment of violation of your close personal inner sanctum. Religion works within that sanctuary of our humanity where we find many of the roots and fruits of the lives of virtues we cultivate and the intrusion and clash of the benign in that space, like it does with Rec2 is what makes a lot of the imagery in the movie jarring like the confining of the teenagers and use of another to call out the demon. Horror almost always manages to call into question that thing we call morality and evaluate it.
Another thing the Rec series is peculiar for is that it makes use of a unique circumstance where it manages to pull off the fusion of two kinds of horrors like the zombie and the possession. The movie is grounded in a culture where religion is, in fact, a norm and as such, the Christian West; the genre of horror has its own place in such a society such as the polar opposite, although that’s not to say it isn’t taboo. A country like Spain, where religion is a norm, is seemingly as receptive of the ideas and the implications of horrors as they are to the benign influence in their lives. In such a society, the zombie, which is often an aimless, soulless, animated corpse is made scarier by making it out to be a possession, admittedly a shadow of the aspect of religion and the spiritual. The idea of possession is frightful because the experience talks about the omnipotence or the potency of the supposed Evil God. Like the existence posited by Descartes in his philosophy, the Evil Genius, the supposition of the Evil God that is able to mislead us and manipulate us is the consolidation of the fear of having destiny, your destiny, ripped from your clutches.
What’s also interesting about Rec and a host of other good pieces of horror film is that these horror films do not simply serve as an inoculation of sorts. We come into movies like those and half the time we are expectant that the movie will end with a supposed attempt at a return to normalcy where the characters much like a human body is after a vaccination, is better off, well informed, healthy and happy. Movies like Rec, where there is no happier ending where the scales aren’t tipping back, for me, constitute an important ‘what if?’ case for the genre.