In my previous blogpost about the first REC film, I wrote about how I have a love-hate relationship with the found footage subgenre of horror films. REC 2, released in 2009, is proof of the fact that there is only so much you can do to a easily-tiring film gimmick before everything turns stale and boring. I think it’s the worst sequel since The Blair Witch 2.
Finishing where the first movie left off, REC 2 finds a team of SWAT members and a medical officer dispatched to the apartment building to control the situation. What they find is are the horrifying remnants of the first movie, and then some. The film tries to explain what happened in the first movie, and that, for me, was what killed the horror. What I loved most about the first movie is the fact that nobody really knew what was happening, or where the virus came from. It plays with man’s fear of the Unknown, and it is this fear that brings about the horror for me. The sequel, however, had us go from a scientific explanation, to a more religious one. Maybe the filmmakers intended it to be a sort of series of twists to keep the action happening, but that certainly killed whatever fear I was having when I saw it. Part of what makes certain horror movies stick and good is the way that they play with the Unknown. Something that is alien to us makes us run like crazy. You never know what is really happening, and you’re never sure if your next course of action would help you or actually kill you. In REC 2, you learn that not all SWAT members are actually adept at gunfiring. Certainly, they don’t seem to know how to shoot these things in the head. Granted, they were taken aback by what they were experiencing, but weren’t they trained for similar situations, anyway? Also, I didn’t understand the way they handled the virus in the movie. Audiences will be left wondering if it ever is indeed a virus, and if so, wouldn’t that make the demon a weak one, because he needed a virus to control other people, instead of just going on an all-out Pazuzu craze on the people inside the apartment? Don’t get me wrong. I love horror movies that deal with religion, but this one just seems too forced.
However, I liked the idea of switching the perspective of the story from the police to the group of teenagers (who initially seem dumb, but they turn out to be actually dumber). It was the only thing that made me have hope for the movie, but only when it was first introduced. I get the idea of the filmmakers to somehow reintroduce another point of view, but I think that they could have done more with another set of characters, instead of the whiny teenagers. I actually cheered when they died. Really, they were some of the most stupid characters I have ever seen in a horror movie. To me, their characters were, in a way, Americanized (think campy 80’s horror where everyone just gets killed for the purpose of getting killed). Ultimately, the movie was really a letdown for me. I actually found REC 3 better than this one.