Rec 2

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Rec 2 picks up right where Rec left us, but with a significant difference: it’s a different camera, and it’s more than one camera. Perhaps its because you are more prepared for what’s coming because you are familiar with the style of the movie, and you more or less are aware of how it’s going to startle you. But perhaps it’s also due to the slight change in perspective. In the first Rec movie, we run around with Angela as one person, as cameraman Pablo. We are really thrust into the story and the terror that the characters are going through, because in a way, we are part of it. We are a character in the movie. In Rec 2, we are jostled from one camera to another, from one character to another. Thus, we are constantly pulled in and out of the movie and it becomes a lot less personal.

 

Rec 2 offers more of an explanation as to why everything is happening. Rec and Rec 2 are generally both zombie movies, but it’s interesting this particular “zombie apocalypse” came about. In both movies, the infection is spread by bites as in typical zombie movies, but how it actually began is very different: a possession. Religion is the last thing that one would think expect from a zombie movie, much less be what caused the zombie invasion. In a possession, a demon takes over the body of a person, a host. However, once it moves from one body to another, the previous body is left alone albeit perhaps a bit weakened or even dead. There is usually no “leftover residue” in the form of a weird illness that eventually turns the body into a blood thirsty zombie.

 

The interesting thing about this installment is that the protagonists are mostly men. Men are supposed to be the logical ones, the problem-solvers. The men in Rec 2 eventually figure out what’s happening, but they are unable to really solve the problem. Despite their best efforts, they still fail. Angela, who we had originally cheered for, turns out to now be the monster to be feared. Everyone fears being backstabbed or having the tables turned on them, to find out all of a sudden that the person you had trusted turns out to be the one you should have been avoiding all along. Woman turns out to be untrustworthy after all, an Other that should be feared and shunned.

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[REC 2]

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Ah, REC 2, quite possibly the best horror film sequel ever, in my opinion. However, as a standalone film, i can’t really say it’s a particularly exceptional one. I can say though that it has made its way into my list of top ten favorite horror films of all time. But i’ll get to explaining why I loved this film so much later.

What I want to talk about first is why it didn’t quite work as well as REC. I think one of the most integral parts of the REC films is the person in front and behind the camera. With REC, even though Pablo was behind the camera, it was Angela who was leading us through the events of the entire film. In that way, we could connect to Angela, but at the same time feel like we’re Pablo, walking the halls of the zombie-infested apartment. But what works with this dynamic is that Pablo barely ever speaks. Not only that, we NEVER see what Pablo looks like. In that way, it is easier for us to associate ourselves with Pablo, but still feel the raw emotions that Angela feel, and therefore the sense of vulnerability is doubled. With a woman leading us through the film, we feel a little more vulnerable, because it is somewhat ingrained into our heads that women are weaker, more vulnerable, more susceptible to getting attacked and losing. However, when it came to REC 2, the people holding the cameras were also a lot more prominent in that they were also being heard. Therefore, watching REC 2 felt less like experiencing the events of the film yourself, and more like you were watching someone film and narrate something. Aside from that, the people leading us throughout this whole mess were mostly men. And men are a little more difficult to connect with or to feel frightened with when it comes to horror films because we know men to be a little stronger and a little more powerful than women. If a man were to lead a horror film it feels less scary and more action-y, and i guess that’s what took away some of the scariness REC had.

What I did like about REC 2 was that, first of all, it was a direct continuation of REC. As in, there was almost no time in between the last scene where Angela gets dragged into the darkness and where the SWAT team goes into the apartment. This way, it’s a lot more thrilling because we can still feel the thrill of the mystery surrounding what happened with Angela. And then, the demonic possession is put into light further, which really adds o the creepy vibe of the whole thing.

Lastly, my favorite scene from REC 2 is the part where they explain that there is a different world when there is light and when there isn’t any. I found this very chilling. Horror films don’t usually stick to me anymore and leave me restless late at night. They used to when I was younger, and when I was still very gullible and wasn’t such a skeptic. However, when I saw this scene, all of these feelings came back. After watching the film I was almost too scared to turn the lights off, feeling like maybe there WAS another world when they were off. i don’t know what it is about that scene, but maybe it’s the feeling of the unknown lurking in the darkness. Of the monster being much scarier when you can’t see it.

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REC 2 is pitch perfect as far as its predecessor is concerned. It embraces its sequel status by expounding on and exploring the mythos already established in REC while retaining all the great elements of the first movie.

That said, I found myself surprisingly bored with REC2. It was inherently fascinating to me, I love it when follow up stories aren’t afraid to explore their own pre-established worlds, but the fact that it was so similar to the first one in tone seemed to drown out the newness of, well, everything else. It became Angry Spanish People in a Confusing Situation Part Two (with teenagers!), which is a pity because the new bits are actually really exciting in retrospect, like Angela Vidal’s transformation from victim to monster.

REC 2, by picking up from where the first movie left off, introduces main characters that are “armed”, both with some prior knowledge of the situation and with literal guns. Thus, the encounter with the monsters becomes a bit more rudimentary, to the point that they go out of their way to encounter them themselves. However, the situation is still so deadly, and the main group’s original purpose so important, that the story isn’t at all undermined by this. And the strange new revelations, staggered artfully throughout the movie, at least managed to keep my interest long enough to get me through the duller parts of the movie.

I thought the concept was airtight and that REC 2 made for a satisfying sequel. Knowing that the creatures are more demon than zombie doesn’t take away from my original assessment, since a lot of the elements (infection, disease, hunger) easily play along to the zombie genre.

Even if there were shadows of a deeper message hidden within the layers of screaming and shaky camera footage, REC2, for good or for worse, sticks to its guns and keeps in line with the spirit of the original.

Zombies and Demons

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There’s something about sequels that audiences automatically hate. They just aren’t as good as their original counterparts. With [REC] 2, it’s the same disappointment as other sequels, but I still think it’s scary, not just as scary as the first one.

Just like the first franchise, [REC] 2 uses the first POV and takes off from the ending of [REC], although this time, they make use of two cameras, one of the SWAT and one of a bunch of teenagers. The SWAT team were to administer a doctor to get blood examples from the infected people. Later on, they find out the doctor was indeed a priest who was appointed to get a blood sample of the root of the disease, which is the Medeiros girl. The team violently reacted from knowing about it but soon realizes that they are locked until they get the blood of the girl.

I think a prequel would be just right with the amount of positive feedback that [REC] had garnered from public viewers. Though, I found it a bit forced that they put two cameras in the movie. I thought the teenagers’ part was unnecessary and kind of ridiculous at the same time. How can a very serious case like this just leave an open manhole at the back of the building? I just think it was too forced and pointless. It also ruined the momentum and right pacing that [REC] was originally admired for. The character of one of the SWOT members also ruined the realness of the movie. In no way can I ever imagine a SWAT member throwing tantrums and panicking like that even in the face of strange beings. The religious part for me was just okay. I think it added to the scary factor with the Latin stuff and all. It kind of had a The Exorcist vibe into it that will always be creepy with a mix of anti-Catholicsm as it expounds on the story involving the Vatican. Although interesting, I kind of got lost with the jump from zombie apocalypse to demonic possession. I still think that the vagueness of the first movie gave it a bit more advantage over the prequel.

However, I really liked the part where Angela comes back to the story. Just like in the first one, I really admire how natural her acting is. It also adds confusion to the audience on how she survived getting captured by the Medeiros girl. But, of course, later on, we find out that Angela was actually already possessed by her. Also, just like in [REC], my favorite part is still the last minutes of the film. That dark scene was just too terrifying for my life. The cinematography gave justice to its predecessor, though the weak plot was not aided by the factors, unlike in the first movie. The very ending though was not that full of impact as it is a giveaway that another sequel is coming up.

Of course, there will always be a comparison when it comes to sequels, and it will almost always end up to be a disappointment, especially for horror aficionados. This might not be as scary and as interesting as the first one, but it sure was above par when it comes to sequels.

Rec 2

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Similar to the format of The Blair Witch Project, the film Rec 2 was filmed like a documentary. It followed the events that happened in the first movie Rec and it was revealed that whatever that was killing the people trapped in the same building were not zombies, but rather people who were apparently possessed by evil demonic spirits. It is a horror film in the sense that it has that there is something unknown killing off the characters one by one until later on it is revealed. I find the previous movie Rec scarier because of the thought that the news crew was actually facing zombies. Later on in Rec 2 the next group of victims including a priest find out that they are facing humans possessed by the devil. However, while zombies remain rather impossible as of present, possessions have been proven to be possible. There is solid proof that such demonic activities do exist and that they happen. What probably adds to the horror element is that itself, that it is possible and that it could actually happen. Given that the phenomenon is possible, but the cause and effect it quite unknown and extremely unpredictable makes it scary. The fact that it could happen and might even be happening in the present adds to the horror factor of Rec 2. Honestly, at the beginning of the movie I thought that it would not be that good because the stigma stuck that it is just another zombie movie. It only dawned on me as the movie moved towards the end that Rec 2 is actually not ‘just another zombie movie’. It sort of tricks you into believing and preparing for a zombie film, and then it shocks you as the movie progresses. The several twists even further complicate the film, adding then subtracting characters with different backgrounds. All in all, I can say that Rec 2 is definitely a horror film.

Horror Film 8: Another [REC]ording of Doom

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They say “what you see is what you get”. But when the light stops you from seeing, how can you find what you’re looking for?

[REC] 2 was a film which follows the events of the previous films. It takes great leaps in providing a great explanation for what was going on in the first film and builds with that to create and interesting bond between science and faith. The film extends the cause of the infection to an unbelievable case of demonic possession which the new set of characters would soon find out. [REC] 2 makes use of clever ideas that truly expands the lore of the film series.

As a sequel of a good movie, I found [REC] 2 just as satisfying to watch compared to its predecessor. It manifests previous characters into roles which are not the typical foreboding types that warn others of what they experienced. Instead they are still involved with the story and play a role that is critical to the plot. It also immerses us once again in the same setting which shows places that are familiar while keeping it fresh by adding twists and new imagery all throughout. But a fallback from the previous film that I found hardly likable is the introduction of expendable characters that provide little to no progress to the plot and you just feel sorry for them for just a short while.

The film focuses on what the person sees and what he cannot see. As viewers looking through a first person perspective, we delve in with them as they see for us and themselves what horror they were pursuing. The sense of sight serves as a catalyst for the events in the film as things only seem to happen in the face of the camera. The characters in the film were continuously searching for something in a place so desolate and dangerous. This was further emphasized in the fact that they were actually in the right place in the very beginning of the film. When they learn how to “see”, the events took a darker turn.

Overall, the film was a great follow-up to a great “zombie” flick.  Its draws from what was established in the first film and adds its own charm to it. Though the science-religion combination maybe strange and inappropriate for some, I liked it a lot since it provides a different take to the zombie genre.

REC2

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When movies become hits, writers, directors, producers and every other person who get a pinch out of the income they make, think it’s okay to force a story out of the ending of the first movie. Of course, since the intentions of the second or any other succeeding movies aren’t always as pure as the first time, it is bound to not be as good as the first which is NOT what I can say about the second REC movie.

Never have I seen a movie that tackles possession as a zombie apocalypse/virus kind of thing all in one go. I guess the writers tried to deviate from being typical and although some might think they were trying too hard to be different, the triple threat monster worked for me.

 The ending of the first movie was the news reporter woman left in the room with the possessed zombie girl and it all went blank. I thought she was dead and I was already settled with that idea but finding out there was a REC 2 gave me hope, maybe she was alive, a good ending perhaps.

The first movie did not fully reveal the real cause of the zombie outbreak in the building, they showed the room of the priest but there was also a mention of a virus, so the whole situation was not explained. The difference of Rec and Rec2 for me was that what that the story line become more important. As I mentioned, dialogue was almost unnecessary during the first movie because it was all running and panting, I did not care to know what caused the virus, all I wanted was for the people to escape. The second movie on the other hand focused more on answering the question they were asking from the start: how did everything begin.

When the priest was persistent about there being a cure, I was hopeful again that the ending was going to be a happily ever after.  But as soon as the reporter (whom I thought was dead) arrived, I knew that was impossible. Again, my intentions for the movie shifted to finding out what was going on instead of wishing for a good ending. Together with my shifting of intentions for the characters of the movie, the point of view of the cameras also changed. What I liked about the movie was that when you don’t know what is going on, you know your questions are going to be answered as soon as the camera view changed.

Overall, Rec2 was enjoyable as the first but the significant difference was that the scare factor was less during this movie because almost all throughout the movie, the point of view was that of a man, and a macho policeman at that.