Throughout TIFF, Kris and Joe will be doing "shared" reviews, in which we'll offer our opinions on a particular film in a single post. This is day 6.
When I first watched [Rec] last year, I was blown away by the super fresh take on the first person shaky-cam horror flick. Needless to say, I was psyched when I heard that [Rec] 2 would be having its world premiere at TIFF. Kris and I stumbled into the Ryerson just after midnight and took our seats, and what began was an immediate burst of terror on the screen which lasted for about half the movie. The suspense just barely sustained itself in the last half, and nearly fizzled out in the last third, but not before it gave us a few more jumps and faded sense of eeriness. All told, a highly effective film that achieves what it sets out to do; namely, scare the yell out of ya.
I've got to meditate more on this particular film, however. I was so taken by [Rec] because it expertly mixed social commentary, human drama, and creepiness, without glossing over any particular aspect. However, [Rec] 2 ramps up the thrills and the chills, often at the expense of the other areas. So it was a trade off that I'm not sure paid off (see what I did there?), but it certainly felt like it did.
What I did LOVE about [Rec] 2 was its further exploration of the supernatural side that was only briefly hinted at in the first film. The fact that that was the focus of this plot was incredibly compelling, and made the film far more frightening than if the directors merely had the characters being chased by the "infected"; these people were not "infected" at all, it turns out, but possessed.
With a few nods to The Exorcist, [Rec] 2 sets out on a new path and blazes an awesome trail. When the characters realize there is a hidden world that can only be seen by night vision was a development that was superbly carried out, with the tension slowly building around a fantastic concept. However, I think they "showed" too much of the monster in this one (I'm sure many would disagree), but what made her so creepy in the first film was that you only saw her in silhouette, then for a few brief seconds in eerie night vision green and black.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed [Rec] 2, but I hope they don't do a third. I think what they've got right now is a excellent, tight little package with its own mythology and visual style, and to mess with that would be to cheapen the whole thing. The directors said as much in the Q&A. Although....I hated Nightmare on Elm Street 2, but thought Dream Warriors was brilliant, so you never know...
Last nights' screening marked the home stretch for Midnight Madness 2009. 6 films down and everyone of them has been a lot of fun. Even Romero's Survival of the Dead, which i didn't enjoy, was still a ruckus of a screening. The festival is taking a visible toll on Joe and I but we're loving every second of it.
Day 6 of Midnight Madness hosted more zombies. [REC] 2, sequel to 2007's [REC] and the film Quarantine was based on, picks up where the original film left off. In [REC] an apartment building is under quarantine for mysterious reasons with tenants locked inside as well as a television crew who record all the events that transpire. [REC] 2 starts 15 minutes after the events of the first film and put us in the perspective of a SWAT team whose orders are to enter the building to try and control the situation.
What makes [REC] stand out from the pack of other first person horror films (Blair Witch Project, Cloverfield, Diary of the Dead) is the way directors Jaume Balaguero and Paco Plaza utilize the camera to tell their story. Many times the camera is used as a tool to see in the dark or to act as a second pair of eyes to look around a corner or in an attic. The shots are blocked in such a way that they deliver some really horrifying moments while still feeling natural to the central plot device of first hand recording. Unlike other films that utilize the first person camera, I've never questioned the characters in [REC] for recording everything. I never wanted to yell "throw down the camera and run!" Their reasons for filming everything are valid and make sense.
For [REC]2 Balaguero and Plaza have once again come up with fun and inventive ways to keep this device from feeling "gimmicky". The SWAT team not only carries a conventional video camera with them but they are all equipped with helmet cams which, you can imagine, capture some of the most scariest scenes of the film.
If you are a fan of [REC] than you'll really enjoy [REC] 2, it is a sequel in the true sense of the word. It plays like a counterpart of the first so well that you could actually watch both side by side, in fact i can't imagine watching one without the other now.
Great stuff, and i'm hoping Plaza and Balaguero keep cranking out some more of these.
Tonight we take on the demons of hell in Solomon Kane.