Saturday, October 18, 2008

[REC*] It's Scary!

2007 - Directed by Jaume Balaguero and Paco Plaza - Starring Manuela Velasco as Angela, Ferran Terraza as Manu, and Pep Sais as Pablo the Camera Man.

Alright, so from the moment this begins the seriously overdone First Point Perspective from the camera man is in full swing, and that's what makes this movie lose a few points with me. From the very first attempt at the shaky camera work that was The Blair Witch Project (decent for its time and the odd frights it dished out) to the recent Cloverfield (enjoyable for the likable characters and the never-fully-seen monster), it seems that the technique is starting to get slightly cliched. Be that as it may, however, the point of it here is far more necessary than either of the two films before it fully bringing the man behind the camera into the action and the story line.
Angela hosts a TV show called While You Were Sleeping and investigates the goings on around the city of Barcelona while everyone else is safely in their homes in nightly repose. In this instance she visits the local Fire Station in hopes of getting some kind of story on what the guys do when an emergency call comes in. Before I go on, I have to tell you that the copy I watched was crystal clear aside from the horrendous subtitle work presumably done by whomever put the package together and often there were times when not only was the English translation just stupid, but sometimes, if the author couldn't understand the words, he just faked it with symbols like this "18*==3#". See how annoying that is? Well, I got the gist of it and wached it regardless. So, back to Angela. As she's wandering the grounds of the fire station with assistant chief Manu, the alarm rings and the crew is called to a local apartment building where a woman inside is freaking out and evidently hurting herself.
Angela and Pablo follow the fire fighters into the building and up the stairs to the woman's flat, and this is where it starts to get pretty intense. As the crew attempt to calm the obviously distressed and bat-shit crazy woman down, she leaps atop the nearest tech and rips his neck to shreds. The group, all at once, barrel down the stairs to regroup and shout obscenely and frightfully about the scene they'd just witnessed while simultaneously hearing from the outside that the very building their in is about to be guarantied and effectively locked down. This news does not go over well with the residents, and each begins to flip out in his or her own special way. Then, without warning, one of the emergency crew who remained upstairs comes sailing down the stairwell onto the floor bashing his face in. Uproarious screams fill the room when the sudden realization that the woman upstairs has completely lost it coupled with the understanding that, while trapped inside, their medical supplies are minimal at best sinks in. All the while Angela is trying desperately to get each of the shut-in's perspectives on camera for the audience at home to see, and discovers by accident that there is a sick little girl among them with a sick little pooch at a vet outside. Could this mean something?
Soon, an outsider Medical Technician is allowed to enter and begins his examination of the two injured techs. He tells everyone precisely nothing and moves the hurt couple to a separate room with a few of the EMT's and the resident flat medical professional. Angela can't get a clear shot so she sends her camera man up a window to a slightly ajar pane and he films what's going on inside the cordoned off room. Well, what he sees as the Med Tech proceeds to handcuff and inject the wounded is rage. The man who was bitten leaps on one of the men and bites his face. Pablo jumps down and instructs Angela to run. Now we have real problems.
Once the situation is mildly calmed, we find out through persuasion and threats from the Med Tech that there is an infection loose in the building that apparently was brought on by a sick dog on the outside who lives in the building. It turns out, pretty plainly, that it's the little girl's dog and that the illness is spread by saliva. At this point, I honestly jumped a bit as the little girl, held lovingly in her mother's arms, turns, almost demonically, and belches a lunger all over her mom's face. She then begins to howl some of the most blood-curdling yowls I have ever seen. Picture something like a bird of prey mixed with a hacking cough mixed with a screaming baby and you're half way there.
Eventually, as the entire complex gets infected one way or another, Angela, Manu, and Pablo, struggle to find a way out. They make their way to the top room and discover it's filled with lab equipment and articles posted about a possible Demonic Possession in a little girl who lived exactly where they're standing. Angela has no idea what's going on, but listening to an old real-to-real they discover that she might still be there! Yeah, well, I'm not going to reveal any more because you need to find a way to see this for yourself. And, according to Fangoria Mag and Rue Morgue, that may never be possible. Sorry. However, the Americanized version, Quarantine, is in theaters now and from what I've heard it's a spot on adaptation with only a few changes, so this might be the best you're going to do. If you get ahold of [REC], give it a chance. It's a cool flick with some genuine scares, if not exactly an original concept, it's still fun. Curl up with some popcorn and have a good time.


Douglas A. Waltz said...

And at least it's not the lame ass American remake.

S. W. Miller said...

Mhm. I hear that though I have heard OK things about it.