Thursday, August 5, 2010
And I continue to be a Balagueró slut…
[REC] 2 kicks off right where [REC] ends, as four SWAT members are tasked to escort a Minister of Health into the quarantined apartment building where the horrors of the original took place. With the presence of the SWAT team, with their mounted cameras and heavy firepower, it initially gives the appearance that [REC] 2 is going the Aliens route, where the sequel doses up the horror of its progenitor with booster shots of adrenaline, testosterone, and gunfire.
But Jaume Balagueró and co-director Paco Plaza impishly tread other paths in this brilliant follow-up.
Contrary to the louder, “sound and fury” mentality of Hollywood’s hollower sequels, [REC] 2 targets higher ground in more significant ways. Not only are the shots more ambitious, but so is the narrative structure.
The diabolical aspects of [REC] are also opened up and taken further, neatly dovetailing into a sequence that takes the handheld camera from storytelling device to item of narrative consequence. (Battery life also comes into play at a certain point, so hurrah, for the acknowledgement of real life technological limitations on the found footage genre.)
Not only does [REC] 2 take the tantalizing promise of [REC]’s climactic reveal and run gleefully with it to places not normally seen in the zombie/infected genre, it also addresses some of the matters which were established in the original.
And in keeping with the spirit of [REC], it also has questions unanswered by the time the end credits roll, agonizing teases for more truly exceptional shakycam horror* in a third installment.**
* As much as I love what Balagueró has achieved with the [REC] films, setting some formidable standards for the first person horror experience, I’m also looking forward to his return to his own solo work, so my anticipation for Flatmate is rather high…
** [REC] 3 has already been announced…
Parting shot: [REC] was on the ¡Qué Horror! 2009 roll call, where it shared a slot with its English-language remake, Quarantine. Please feel free to scour the Archive, where reviews of Jaume Balagueró’s other films, Los Sin Nombre, Darkness, and Fragiles, can also be found.
([REC] 2 OS courtesy of impawards.com; images and PSA poster courtesy of jaumebalaguero.blogspot.com.)