‘[Rec] 2’ delivers good jolts, then spoils the mystery, fun

  • By Robert Horton Herald Movie Critic
  • Thursday, July 8, 2010 6:26pm
  • LifeGo-See-Do

The sequels of summer are not limited to the giant multiplexes. Case in point: “[Rec] 2,” a follow-up film to the 2007 Spanish hit “[Rec].”

There’s not much question about why the first movie was an international success, so much so that it spawned a wussy Hollywood remake called “Quarantine.” Directors Jaume Balaguero and Paco Plaza dreamed up a solid horror concept that offered relentless action, and they played it by the rules.

The entire film is seen through the lens of a TV crew’s camera (thus the title, which pops up on the viewfinder whenever the camera begins recording), as a routine human interest story about firefighters turned into a firsthand account of an apparent zombie outbreak in a sealed-off building.

The format allowed for some real shocks, especially as zombies emerged from the sides of the frame or the dark backgrounds of the shot. And there was no music to juice the scares: They all came honestly.

“[Rec] 2” picks up right where the first one left off. This time the camera lens is provided by a SWAT team entering the building, although this time the filmmakers have a couple of clever ways to add other viewpoints.

An enigmatic doctor (Jonathan Mellor) is in charge, but he’s not quite what he seems. And he neglected to mention to the SWAT team that they will be shot on sight if they try to leave the building without his say-so. And he isn’t inclined to say so any time soon.

We get some nice jolts along the way, for sure. But fans of the first movie are going to get a letdown, I think, because the sequel runs into one of the classic problems for teasing out a horror franchise.

Which is: Although the reason for the weird occurrences in “[Rec]” could be hinted at slightly, in the second movie there’s more of a full-fledged explanation coming. And, without giving everything away, the explanation kicks the zombie infection from the realm of science to the supernatural.

All right, well, that’s one kind of horror movie. But somehow it was all cooler when the mystery prevailed.

“[Rec] 2”

The sequel to the ingenious 2007 Spanish hit “[Rec]” picks up where that one left off, with a SWAT team entering an infected building; once again, we see everything through their video-camera lens. There are some good jolts here, but the movie’s a letdown from the first one, and it commits the classic error of providing an explanation for the mysterious zombie occurrences going on. In Spanish, with English subtitles.

Rated: R for violence, nudity, language.

Showing: Varsity

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