Rec 2 (2009)


*. Again with how to render the title. Rec 2? Or Rec squared? The latter makes no sense, but it’s how it’s usually displayed (with “Rec” in square brackets).
*. Here’s the problem with having a debut megahit: You have to do it again, even if you don’t want to. The creative team of Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza made the best of a bad situation, quickly following up a film that should not have had a sequel.
*. This one seems to me to be just more of the same. Even the ending takes us back to the same situation as the end of the first film, and the twist at the end (borrowed from The Hidden, I believe) is more unpleasant than convincing or original.


*. The “explanation” offered for the virus is worse than useless, raising more questions than it answers. What before was sinister and ambiguous now just seems stupid. Maybe it means something to priest-ridden Spain (I’m kidding, Spaniards!), but virus and demonic possession are simply mutually exclusive concepts. One is material, the other spiritual. How can there be an medical “antidote” for possession? Religion doesn’t seem to do the job very well anyway, as the priest is ineffective and probably more a hindrance than a help. I also don’t know why the devil, if he has such multi-dimensional powers, got stuck in that crappy building in the first place. Then again, if the devil is something organic, like a giant slug, maybe he isn’t that special.
*. These nagging questions are probably the result of having to whip up a sequel on short notice. The script is full of nonsense that just has to be there for the plot to work out the way it does. For example, what would have happened if the priest had been injured or killed right at the outset? Does that mean the SWAT team would have been written off? They couldn’t be extracted, or for that matter even communicate with the outside, because of the voice recognition system. Why do they need a blood sample only from Medeiros? Why wouldn’t any infected blood be adequate in order to make an antidote? And why does Father Owen have to test the sample of Medeiros’s blood first? I mean, the damn test tube is labeled! And if it isn’t the right blood, so what? They go back in (better informed this time) and get some more.


*. The gang of kids are stupid and self-destructive, to a point where they become annoying. Their haplessness is realistic (I like it when Mire accidentally shoots the fireman in the head), but after a while you start wanting to yell at them. In the first film you could just sort of understand Pablo’s dedication to his camerawork, and the police here have orders to film everything, but it makes no sense at all for the kids to keep filming themselves even as they’re being attacked and shot at.
*. Not that the SWAT team are much better. They lose their shit entirely at the first hurdle. Not very professional, guys.


*. There’s an impatience with human sympathy in these movies, as in the zombie genre in general. That’s not a child, or your friend, or your wife, you dummy. It’s a zombie. Loyalty and affection equal death. Jut shoot it in the fucking head.
*. I love the business with the rocket in the mouth, but that’s the only “good” kill in the show. Most of the action sequences are far too fast to catch much of anything.
*. It’s a very short movie (85 minutes) but seems long enough given the frantic pace. Everything not essential is edited out. Rec 3 would be another story, where it would have made sense to include more.


*. Come to think of it, some stuff that I would have thought was essential was edited out too. What happened to the two non-infected kids? I guess it’s explained later in the Rec franchise, but it bothered me a bit that they’re not mentioned here.
*. Why should the night vision camera reveal hidden things? I suppose this is another example of the material/spiritual disjunction I mentioned earlier, but it really bugged me. Night vision cameras don’t have spiritual second-sight. They also don’t literally see what is dark. Instead, the kind they are using here operate by collecting and amplifying available light. So why should the camera be able to see into another dimension?
*. I know I shouldn’t expect it to make sense, but there’s something about a well in the penthouse that I’m just not buying.
*. Is there a skylight in the secret room in the penthouse? At the end when a helicopter goes over it seems as though there is, and that light is shining in. But if that’s the case then it shouldn’t be so dark.
*. This is a hard movie to judge. It doesn’t stand on its own, being completely meaningless without seeing Rec. But despite being a not-bad little thriller, with a fast pace and bits of Aliens and The Exorcist tossed into the mix for good measure, it really makes a mess out of things and shows signs of a rush to capitalize on the success of the original. Unfortunately, still worse was to come.


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