Movie: [REC] 2, [REC] 3, [REC] 4
My Rating: 4 stars
It seemed like the whole “found footage” genre had a pretty hot run for a couple of years. It’s a pretty useful device. Those kinds of films are usually pretty cheap to make, and it usually means the filmmaker can avoid doing too much work to set up the story. I’ve never had a problem with these kinds of movies, but many people find them troublesome. Some people hate the jerky camera motion. Others find the story-telling strategy to be kind of cheating—a crutch for poor writers. And, it’s true that some of these movies work better than others. But, I watched the first film in this series, and found it to be very well-composed and interesting. So I was interested in seeing the sequels. Numbers two and three came out a few years ago, but number four was just released (here in the US), so I was eager to jump back into this nightmare world of zombies and rabid little girls.
All four of these films are classic zombie stories. However, these aren’t the undead kind of zombies that we’ve come to be familiar with. These are the “infections brain disease” type (like the kind we met in 28 Days Later). They don’t need to be dead in order to turn. They just need to be bitten. In this line of stories, people are infected with a kind of fast acting, super aggressive rabies. Although, in the second film, the filmmaker does throw some supernatural elements at us. However, the story really didn’t need any deviltry to make its point. It would have worked either way. It’s a straight continuation of the first film, and it picks up not long after the point where that story leaves off. The residents of a Barcelona apartment building are quarantined because of an outbreak of this extremely infections disease. But, this new story adds some actual demon possession into the mix to make the whole story even scarier than it already was.
The third film in the series isn’t directly related to the story in the first two, although it still involves the same infections disease spreading amongst a small population of people. I think it’s meant to be a parallel outbreak of the same infection that the government was fighting in the first movies. But, where the first two films were set in a dark, dank, enclosed apartment building, this third one is set on a beautiful estate that serves as a venue for weddings and other special events. It’s a much larger problem, and the characters have a much wider area in which to roam. The action takes place at a wedding, and that’s a fun, new twist. Everyone thinks that creepy Uncle Harry is just drunk again, but then he starts biting people, and chaos takes over. It’s really a good time. This one also has some supernatural elements in it too—lots of curses and churchy cures—but that’s really secondary to the main zombie action.
Film number four—the latest release—places us back with Angela, the perky investigative journalist who was looking into the contagious outbreak in the first two films. It appears that she’s finally safe and sound, and has survived the zombie horde. She’s been rescued and is placed aboard a quarantine boat that will ferry the survivors to safety. But, there are a lot of creepy scientists aboard, skulking around in the hold of the ship. And, we all know that when characters start off movies by proclaiming their safety, they’re not long for this world. Will our, little Angela beat the odds?
I think these films are pretty great. They’re not serious at all—just some good, trashy, monster movies; lots of hand to hand combat. They look pretty good—lots of dark hallways and dripping pipes. Plus, none of them run too long. I really appreciate a director who knows how to keep a film short and sweet. Too many films are ruined by a lack of tight editing. I’m already a big fan of zombie movies, and I thought these ones were a pretty good addition to the genre. I’m not entirely sure we needed four of them to cover this story. But, these are nice and scary. Stay away if you aren’t into gross, zombie, gore movies. But if you do like that kind of stuff, you won’t regret watching these.