[Rec] 2 Directed by: Jaume Belaguero and Paco Plaza Cast: Jonathan Mellor, Maneula Velasco, Oscar Zafra, Pablo Rosso Running Time: 1 hr 25 mins Rating: R Release Date: July 9, 2010
PLOT: Picking up only minutes after the first [Rec], this movie follows a SWAT team as they try to contain the situation within the apartment building. Throw in a random demonic possession or two and it makes for one helluva bad day in this POV horror thriller.
WHO'S IT FOR? This is for horror fans that don't mind reading subtitles. As I settled in for this one, I heard several people around me groan that it was in Spanish so take that into account before buying your ticket. Also, fans of DIY film making and POV horror movies like Paranormal Activity may want to check this out.
EXPECTATIONS: Call me old-fashioned, but I hear the words "demonic possession" and I'm out. I'm no snob nor am I particularly religious, but I just always end up comparing them to The Exorcist and they end up coming short. Still, I tried to keep an open mind as I thoroughly enjoyed the first one as a standalone horror flick. There were some unexpected technical issues with the first one (it was a double-feature screening) so I was a little nervous it would take me out of the moment, but things went smoothly for the whole 85 minutes.
Jonathan Mellor as Dr. Owen: This movie (or maybe it was just me?) never seems too sure of just what makes him a doctor because this fella never seems too bright. I get that he's dedicated to the cause, but never once did I believe it. He's the token character that should know better but for some reason never does and falls prey to all the horror cliches that gave me pause about this sequel in the first place. Score: 4
Oscar Zafra as Jefe: The leader of the pack, hence the name, is never given too much reason to be liked or disliked. He simply exists in this world and performs his functions dutifully. He knows his way around a gun, that's for sure, so I guess I gotta give him props for that. In the end, it's a pretty thankless part, but Zafra carries it out with dedication. Score: 6
Pablo Rosso as Rosso: I'm starting to think that the role of camera man is never a good one. Well, I mean, it's pretty obvious that it isn't exactly the greatest job in the world, but with this crew? No time in front of the camera AND a bloody end? No thank you. Still, he's effective in the role, which is particularly impressive considering he doesn't have the advantage of facial expressions that everyone else has. Score: 7
Manuela Velasco as Angela Vidal: The lady newsanchor is back in a weird way in this one. It took me awhile to be able to accept her return, but she adds an interesting dynamic to the horror flick. All things come full circle at the end of this one and Velasco is effective in the role, even if it isn't anything to write home about. Score: 6
TALKING: This is your standard horror fare... but caliente. The Spanish doesn't really add or subtract from goofy lines like "God protects me." In fact, it's lines like these (not the religious meaning behind them, but their placement and delivery) that prove to be this movie's downfall. For fans of the first film, [Rec] 2 takes the story in a very different direction, but if you loved the dead-on lines and the self-awareness of the first one, you'll find yourself chuckling at some bits. For the most part, the dialogue kills the mood of the film or it took me out of the moment. Score: 4
SIGHTS: I don't do well with shaky cameras. I knew this going into it, it's just never been my thing. I don't get nauseous or anything, but I find myself so distracted by the movement that I end up missing some crucial tidbit here or there. The good news? This one's fairly by the book so there's not a whole lot to miss. The bad news? The camera is worse than ever. Juggling different points of view and different cameras make this movie difficult to get comfortable with. Maybe it was the film makers' intention to do this, I can't really say, but it left something to be desired. The saving grace of the movie were some great gore and gross-out moments sprinkled amongst the various scares. Score: 6
SOUNDS: The sound design is incredibly realistic for a movie that involves demonic possession. The only issue is that a lot of the scares revolve around the sound design so it lets on pretty early in the game. The screeches of the demons were ear-piercing and truth be told, I can't tell if I think that's a good thing or not. It definitely adds to the confusion, which is effective, but I was already partially deaf as a kid and I'm not too eager to return to that, so it's a double-edged sword. Score: 7
BEST SCENE: There's a great scene where a bunch of teens try to make a sex doll fly by attaching fireworks to her back. Oh, did you want one that was relevant to the plot? Seeing the continuity between the SWAT team and the teens as they both videotape throwing a guy down a huge stairwell was pretty cool, I guess. I'm still sticking to my sex doll answer though.
ENDING: It took a bit to fit all the puzzle pieces together, but they fit in a sort of cool way. I mean, sure, it ends with the cliche horror movie ending, but I've definitely seen worse.
QUESTIONS: Why are we dealing with demons now? They hinted at it with the end of the first one, but they basically rewrite history for this one. Even the question of why do we have another [Rec] movie is pretty valid by the end of this one.
REWATCHABILITY: Maybe if I made it into a drinking game? But that's more about feeding my drinking addiction than watching this movie again. You know what? Let's just say no on this one.
[Rec] 2 falls into all the traps that horror sequels do. It doesn't even attempt to surpass the original, but instead, it tries to cash in on its loyal fan base. Joke's on you suckers, I went to a free screening! No, but seriously, in trying to take the film in a new direction, it just ends up tripping all over itself. Like the demon idea? It just felt like it was an unnecessary deviation that was meant to take the movie into new territory, but instead, it ends up feeling like a cross between Paranormal Activity and The Exorcist.
Some of the scares are well-executed, but it's missing that self-awareness that made the first so damn enjoyable. You don't get the feeling that the directors are being ironic or mocking themselves when they have a cheap scare, but they honestly rely on them. Still, I can't help but enjoy them for what they are. They are certainly entertaining, but I was expecting more than to just be entertained. I legitimately wanted to be scared. Oh well, better luck next time. And if the end is any indication? Oh, there will be a next time!
FINAL SCORE: 5/10