[Rec] (2007)

MAY 26, 2008


Last night I was playing Halo with some fellow horror movie guys, and one of them asked me if I had seen [Rec]. I hadn’t, so it was a bit odd when I went over a different friend’s house today and he put it on for a post barbecue movie. I only wish the first friend had asked me if I had ever won the lottery, or nailed Rachel Nichols. Could have truly been a Memorial Day.

Anyway, he had thrown me off a bit by saying that it’s a movie in which the last 5 minutes are the best part. Therefore, I was assuming that it was a slow burn, that nothing happened at all for the first hour and twenty minutes. So I was happy to see that the first zombie attack happens about 15-20 minutes in, and that the pace more or less kept up (or got more intense) as the film went on. The story is told almost in real time, in fact, which makes it even more impressive (real time usually equals, well, nothing happening until the last five minutes).

Like all “found footage” movies, a big part of whether or not it works is providing a reasonable excuse for the character(s) to keep filming. Here, it’s the reporters’ disdain for the way that the cops are treating them (quarantining them in an apartment building, not telling them why, etc) that keeps them rolling – they want proof of how they were treated. It gets a bit odd when the zombies begin attacking in greater numbers (the cops more or less all dead by now) that they keep rolling, but that fabled final five minutes (more like 10 I think) again gives a good enough reason – the electricity goes out and they use the camera’s night vision to see. Works for me, though I usually don’t mind the rather illogical actions of the characters in these movies. I want to make a found footage movie in which as soon as the horror shit begins, the camera is thrown to the ground and you see fucking NOTHING for the next 40 minutes. And then I come back on camera, as myself, and say “Fuck you! If we don’t film there’s no movie!”

Unlike Diary of the Dead, it’s actually shot like someone shooting under heavy distress. Yes, that means shaki-cam and “what am I looking at” compositions, but you also won’t ever forget the type of movie you are watching (in Diary, I actually forgot it was “documentary footage” on more than one occasion, because Romero shot it quite beautifully). Also, strange for one of these movies, all of the footage is shot by one person, the news show’s cameraman, whose face we never actually see. It helps maintain the pace and tension, and also spares us from a scene in which we see the characters film each other filming.

As for that last five minutes? Yeah, it’s great. Terrifying in fact. However, an explanation for the zombie’s origin is shoehorned in, and not only does it kind of slow the film down at a really odd time, but it’s a lame explanation as well. Apparently the upcoming US remake changes this backstory (though it’s otherwise a shot for shot remake, from what I hear), so that’s good.

Then again, maybe the subtitles just made something else up, because it was the worst subtitling job I’ve ever seen (along with Botched’s idiotic ‘funny’ subtitles, this makes four films in a single week that were dampened by their subs. Everyone needs to watch Night Watch and see how it’s done!). In addition to numerous spelling errors and bizarre symbols on the head and tail of certain lines, it was also just badly translated to boot. At one point the character clearly says “Muy bien.” (“Very good.”) but the subs offer “Let’s go.” They also, like Frontière(s), often seem like they were run through a thesaurus beforehand, which results in characters saying things like “Use your agility!”. They are also confusingly presented and not in sync with the dialogue, which makes it hard to even tell who is saying what. And I can only assume that the person was saying ‘Keep filming, mother fucker!” and not “Keep filming for your fucking mother!”

Not sure when it’s coming out (I assume before the remake hits theaters, but who knows), but if you’re not sick of found footage yet, then you should dig it. It’s simple and fast, and that’s always a plus with me.

What say you?


  1. I had the same problems with it you did (maybe the back story was cooler then what it seems, subtitles sucked, so who knows?), which were, of course, few. I was really surprised how much this got under my skin considering how derivative it really is. Just really well done, and intense. I fucking loved the last 10 minutes.

    To hell with the re-make though.

  2. Keep filming for your fucking mother. ha.

  3. i absolutley love this movie. I agree with the backstory. It was really half-assed but oh,well. Unfortunately they arent releasing [REC] in theatres at all. It is hitting dvd right before the remake. Its a shame. it deserves the big screen treatment. I can honestly say it was one of the few really scarey movies I have seen in long time. BTW, I love your blog. Great taste in movies with a nice clean writing style. Thanks for doing what you do!

  4. You're a Halo fan?! Moi Aussi - if you play on line and wanna team up and pwn noobs heres my gamer tag - jimmy janglez (note the z)! Word.

  5. I play occasionally... im more into GTA and Rock Band now, but every now and then, you just want to shoot a horror nerd in the face.

  6. I didn't have any problems with the subs on the copy I had. mind you it was a bootleg off Ebay (The bastard!)
    But this movie kicks ass, look at this compared the dissapointing Diary of the Dead. Diary is extremely lame considering Romero is supposed to be the best/creator of the whole zombie thing. The this movie from another country comes out and does what Romero wanted, only 10 times better.
    Hollywood has lost my faith in delivering anything that doesn't look like EVERY other movie out at the time... Bring on the foreign movies, that's where it's at these days.

  7. Yea, that definitely smells like Quarantine to me, hadn't realized that's a remake. Great review though, I'm always looking for good mockumentary-style flicks (which are apparently even fewer and farer between than I had thought) and will try to check this one out.

    Great blog by the by, back to slogging through the carnage.

    - Salvage

  8. I found a region 0 NON PAL Blu-Ray copy of this flick from Spain with English subtitles. I paid over fifty dollars for it, but it was worth every penny!

  9. Don't know if I'm just tiring of this whole mockumenary genre but found REC to be pretty...well...shit. Yes it did have a few nail biting moments but over all I found it cliched, noisy, uninspiring and at times laughable. Bored me to tears really. Interestingly done if not totally "naff" ending though.


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