Friday, March 29, 2013

Review: [Rec] ²

Starring: Jonathan D. Mellor, Manuela Velasco, Oscar Zafra
Directed by: Jaume Balagueró & Paco Plaza
Language: Spanish
Rating: R
Running Time: 85 minutes

If you’re curious about my thoughts on the first film, I encourage you to check my comparison post. Naturally, I wanted to see the continuation. With my goofy apartment connection and a much needed food break, I chose to watch this finally.

Following the events from the previous film, a SWAT team arrives at an apartment complex with their own cameras to document and keep track of each other. Once they arrive, a huge crowd of curious citizens and various authorities and news crews look at the complex with mixed emotions. One of the residents’ husbands pleads to get inside to deliver medicine, but is denied. The SWAT team is allowed to enter the seemingly empty complex. They immediately meet an unusual priest and join together to search the area for survivors and a cure.

As much as I enjoyed the first movie and even the American remake, I really disliked this sequel. I found myself frustrated a lot of the time. There were a couple of moments where I was peeking through my fingers in suspense and it ended up with nothing, but the scare came a little later. So, what frustrated me about this continuation?

Well, I was happy this was a “true” sequel and didn’t follow what America did with theirs. Unfortunately, this movie suffered from major conflict change and a ridiculous amount of character stupidity. From sequel to sequel, the antagonist may change, but there is a connecting conflict. Superheroes have to save the city from some villain while struggling with a personal or internal conflict, Resident Evil franchise is the fight against the Umbrella Corporation and the search for a cure for the T-virus, and Final Destination franchise is finding ways to cheat death. From [Rec] to [Rec] ², the conflict switches from people that have been infected with some sort of advanced strain of rabies to them being possessed by some random demon. This negative reaction toward the change may be slightly skewed by the “popularity” of possession and exorcism movies in America, but it is quite annoying.

Character stupidity was the other annoying factor. Now I can mostly excuse the behaviors and actions of the three teenagers who snuck into the complex, but the SWAT team was inexcusable. I know there is some sort of “standard” of horror movie idiocy that is expected in most horror films, but this went beyond the bar of requirement. Sadly, I think I would be safer with the teens carrying their own camera and some fireworks than the loaded up SWAT team. I don’t even know how they managed to qualify with the dumb choices they made! Let me give a couple examples. Just a little warning, these examples are minor spoilers to the movie, but I will exclude character names and it does not ruin the ending either if you proceed to read.

First example is when the team and priest encounter a possessed girl. One of the team members hold her back from attacking while the priest (and even myself) yell out to “shoot her in the head”. The team member argues that the girl is just a child while she tries to hurl toward them and gnaw on their faces. Eventually, the priest takes one of their guns and does the job himself. This point leads to the next example when the team becomes separated. One member gets trapped in a hallway between some possessed people and wastes all of his ammo with body shots, then locks himself in a bathroom. He finds a full clip of pistol bullets, sees the possessed breaking through the door, and decides to commit suicide instead.

Other problems I had was the lack of suspense throughout the movie, no sincerely likable characters, and the story got progressively less entertaining. I don’t even know where these possessed children came from either! I didn’t really like the multiple camera element. The whole premise seemed more forced than the first, but it was interesting seeing more than one perspective of the situation, so that’s one positive.

It’s probably obvious that I really I didn’t like this film. The conflict change was silly and a stretch, the characters were dumb, and the scare factor was low. End your journey with the first movie and ignore this one.

Rating: 1.5/5

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