Last year, between the two of us, we watched an average of 317 movies.
This year our goal is to top that by watching at least one a day.
And as an extra special torture, we've decided to write about all of them.

18 April 2008

[REC], dir. Jaume Balagueró / Paco Plaza (2007)

NIKKI says: I thought he meant Wreck, as in a boat capsizes and there are zombies or something. Oops.

What is going on with all this good horror? I'm not used to enjoying so many of them in a row. We're going to have a hell of a time picking our Top 5 for this month. So much has been great.

This one just heads straight to the top of the list. I never would have guessed we'd see another film this year that would match the frights or the smarts of Welcome to the Jungle, Cloverfield, and Dead in 3 Days.

And, yet, not a day later, we watch this one, which manages in 70 crazy minutes to top all three.

Yep, [Rec] is brilliant. It is so cleverly written that each mark the movie hits, you just want to stand up and applaud. The first bite comes without warning, and it's absolutely frightening. Then the second person goes down, and the method in which that happens is even worse than the first bite. And so it goes... it just gets scarier and more effective as it goes on.

Assisting here, too, is some excellent character development. We meet some of these people so briefly, bit we're somehow devastated to see them go.

Steve and I both noted, too, the screaming of a lot of the dialogue. You know how in movies when victims are being pursued by rampaging killers, they're scared, screaming, maybe sweating a bit and breathing heavy? Well, here they do things a bit more realistically. The panic in the voices of these actors is perfect. I've never heard dialogue delivered this way in horror before. I sometimes felt they were really freaking the hell out of the girl playing the lead the way she spews out her words at times with such terror. Whoever requested that of her, and the others, is a bit of a genius, I reckon.

So much about this was fresh and different. And that's saying something in a genre so overcrowded. From the dialogue and its delivery, through to the actual horror itself -- some great effects here, and absolutely no punches pulled in the grossness of neck bites and hatchet kills. And then there's final ten minutes of the thing which pretty much sent us over the edge of what we thought we could handle, movie-wise.

Good luck, horror makers, topping this one.


STEVE says: [REC] left me speechless. Even now I'm having a difficult time articulating what it was, exactly, that made the movie work for me, because so little of it actually felt like a movie.

I can tell you what didn't work for me: There's a bit early on where Angela asks Pablo to run some footage back for her, and we actually see the footage rewind and watch it again. And the voice-over bit at the end where one of Angela's lines from earlier is repeated once she meets her fate. If we're meant to be experiencing their footage as it was shot, these little flashes of clever film making don't help. They take me out of the movie - or, rather, bring me back into it - which was my major problem with Diary of the Dead (the narration and the score) in that you're dragged right out of the drama and reminded that, no matter how good the movie is, it's still just a movie.

But [REC] is second only to The Blair Witch Project as far as presenting a believable reality. The only reason I'm not rating it any higher, apart from the aforementioned, is the pseudo-explanation for the Zombie outbreak. While certainly original, it raised more questions than it answered, serving only to stretch the movie for an extra five minutes. And damn it for that, because I would have loved to give this a perfect score.

[REC] was scary as all fuck.


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