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9 August 2011

[•REC] (2007)

If Terry Wogan ever decides to start a EuroZombie Film Contest, then I'm thinking that I might just have stumbled across a hot favourite to win it.

La bienvenida España!

Claudia Silva in REC, Castelao Productions 2007

When I think of Spain, I don't tend to think of zombies. Tonight's film caught me well and truly off-guard.

REC is a wobbly camcorder first person thriller. Yeah, I know what you're thinking... I was thinking it too... but bear with me... it might just be worth your while...

As you know if you've read my review of Cloverfield or the abysmal Diary of the Dead, I've got a low tolerance for 'hand-held' films. But I'm pleased to say that I've been pleasantly surprised by REC. It achieves something that a lot of camcorder films don't... it manages to keep the story at the fore.

Manuela Velasco in REC, Castelao Productions 2007

The film opens with Ángela Vidal (played by Manuela Velasco) as the fast-talking host of TV show "While You're Asleep".The chirpy presenter is desperately trying to rustle up a newsworthy story at a Barcelona firestation. She's young, attractive... and breathes through her ears!

I've never heard anyone talk so fast! She doesn't pause for thought! Jesus Christ! I like to think that I'm okay with a bit of Spanish, but I was pretty much completely lost listening to her. And you should hear her when she's excited! Woah! Thankfully the subtitles saved me, although I'm pretty certain that the words on the screen were only a very loose approximation of what was actually being said.

Confused oldies in REC, Castelao Productions 2007

Back to the film...

So motor-mouth Ángela spends a night at the firestation and joins one of the crews on a 'routine' call-out to check up on a screaming woman locked in her flat. Oh dear! You know where this is going don't you!

Okay... there's a lot you'll kind of recognise in the story... but there's also a lot that you won't typically see in this type of film. And this is simply because it's Spanish. For that reason alone... you're going to like it. It's got flashes of humour and scares dotted about, but it's the characters that made it for me. My favourites are probably César, the camp guy with a mustache played by the brilliant Carlos Lasarte (imagine Dave Grohl in his later years), and the little girl Jennifer (played by Claudia Silva). You've got to see the interview scene... what a serious little girl! It's fair to say that the acting is great. It makes it so easy to get caught up in the story.

Carlos Lasarte in REC, Castelao Productions 2007

Talking about the story... I really liked the way that the film grew. All the way through things got progressively worse. If the truth be told, the start is just plain slow, but once things get going, they really get going! You know you've arrived when they're in the apartment and they discover that they've been placed under enforced quarantine.

And there's a reason why they're under quarantine. Oh yeah!

Just when you think that you've got the measure of the film, the ending sneaks up on you like a mallet to the head. Things are cranked up a notch or two more and el final es excelente! Bueno!

Things are not looking good in REC, Castelao Productions 2007

Ooh, and listen to the credits. The film plays out to some Spanish Psychobilly! Rock it, Baby! I could be wrong, but it looks like the song is called Vudú by Carlos Ann. What a perfect ending!

Okay, time to wrap this baby up, and perhaps hand-cuff it to the bed just to be on the safe side!

On the Triple-B, I'm going to gather all 8 residents together in the lobby whilst we try to figure out who's missing. Hands up anyone not here...

Buy this film!


  1. We're in agreement here, Uke. I loved this movie, and the sequel wasn't bad either. I never bothered watching the US remake.

    Right now, the best horror movies are coming out of Europe and Asia. This one was a gem, and had the most unexpected ending in ages.

    Great review, Uke. :-)

  2. Hey thanks Rich! I appreciate you taking the time to leave some feedback. I'm always dubious of sequels, but I'll watch REC 2 on your recommendation ;-) And yes... agree completely with your observation on the best horror films coming out of Europe and Asia.