REC 2: Religion and The Gaze

“REC 2” is a horror film immediately continuing the events taking place in “REC”, in which a “Ministry of Health official” and a SWAT team are sent to the same quarantined apartment building to control the situation. Similar to what I thought about the original film, I still believe that it perfectly encapsulates the definition of a genuine horror film. Most of the time, sequels do not live up to their audience’s expectations but I think “REC 2” is one of the few exceptions. It was the first sequel of any film our professor showed in class although I did not really anticipate it to be as exciting and horrifying as the first one. To my surprise, it did not disappoint me at all and I actually enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed its predecessor probably because of the immense action involved as soon as it started and the fact that several discoveries were made. All the questions left unanswered in the original movie were dealt with conclusively in “REC 2”.

As opposed to “REC”, the film started off quickly with a “medical officer” and a SWAT team entering the same apartment building. Some intense and gory scenes were involved as they fought off some of the infected they encountered on their way to and out of the penthouse. The religious aspect also immediately came to play as it was revealed that the said medical officer was actually a priest who wanted to obtain a blood sample from the Medeiros girl. He used a rosary to fight the infected and as he performed a religious rite on the said blood sample they found through one of the air ducts, it unfortunately combusted to flames. These just proved that in times of need, the power of the Church cannot be taken too lightly. Also, what clearly turned out to be a zombie assault became a viral demonic possession instead.

Generally, a number of characteristics of the horror film were established in “REC 2”. A sense of entrapment and claustrophobia were obviously felt by the priest and the SWAT team as they were unable to escape the apartment alive. In contrast to “REC”, the usage of different cameras and perspectives is one unique feature which can be found throughout the film. Although employing the point of view of ordinary civilians was quite unnecessary, I guess the film just sought to challenge the concept of the human gaze. In accordance to what Noel Carroll said, the human has the inquisitiveness to gaze upon the unusual, even when it is simultaneously repelling. The curiosity of the three teenagers to know what was happening inside the building led their lives to be in grave danger. It was also revealed that Angela, the television reporter from the first film, was still alive and she was possessed by the Medeiros girl. Predictably but unusually, she became both the victim and “monster” in the movie. In addition to this, their camera’s night vision and gaze were significant in discovering that some things can only be seen in the dark and could not be seen by the human eye. In the end, “REC 2” unveiled to its audience that the power of religion can never be underestimated and the human gaze which leads natural human curiosity cannot easily be circumvented.

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