[REC]

The shaky-cam style of filming has become quite popular in the past decade. Starting with films like The Blair Witch Project, the style has mostly been used for horror films such as Paranormal Activity or Cloverfield. The first-person nature of these films is what has made the style so popular, with the viewer being able to experience fear on an equal level with the characters - rather than watching them getting scared.

If one thinks about it, [REC] isn't that original in terms of plot. A locals news team, Angela and Pablo, are making a documentary on the life and work of firefighters during the dead of night. After a few interviews and some recording, a call finally comes into the station. It appears that an elderly woman, who lives on the top floor of her apartment, has been screaming bloody murder for the past half-an-hour. So, the news team accompanies the firefighters' idea of a routine job in order to get more footage. However, what starts as a routine job becomes a hellish and chaotic nightmare, as there's a lot more going in the apartment than any of the residents know.

It's not exactly original, but the film makes the concept work. It's almost like a rollercoaster, really. It starts out calm and relaxing, then descends into a tense and exciting film. The characters are believable, the situations have a quality horror feel to them, and the film is able to be quite creepy without having to use any music whatsoever. I praise the director duo, Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza, for being able to make such an entertaining horror film on a relatively low budget.

I'll admit, I don't usually get scared by horror films. Instead, I just usually enjoy them, assuming they're quality horror films and not pure schlock. However, there were a few times during [REC] that even I jumped at. Granted, those scenes did get me 'scared', but they've got nothing on this film's ending. I won't spoil it, but the film manages to reach the highest level of horror - terror - during the last five minutes. This doesn't happen often, either, so I commend [REC] for actually freaking me out.

As "fun" as this film was, it does have some big flaws. For one, the film practically beats you in the head when telling you that the government isn't revealing what's going on in the building. I mean, it's repeated so often to the point of annoyance. I get it - the government is (possibly) hiding something. I get the movie's supposed to be realistic, and frightened people do tend to repeat themselves, but it still just felt like it was being hammered into my head.

Another complaint is that the film can go pretty over-the-top sometimes. When a man's neck is bitten off, for instance, the whole thing just feels like really played up. Not terrifying, just loud and aggravating. This is also present during the revelation of an infection, as some people just go from "ok" to "deadly infected" in a few minutes after the reveal. The film gives an explanation for why this is, but it just feels cheap when compared to the overall film.

It's flawed, but what film isn't? [REC] is a 'fun' foreign horror film, with plenty of thrills and scares.

7/10 - Good





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