Eye For Film >> Movies >> [REC] 2 (2009) Film Review
Reviewed by: Donald Munro
I saw [REC]2 at Frightfest during the Glasgow Film Festival. One of the organisers there commented on its resemblance to James Cameron's Aliens. The similarities are quite striking and stem from the fact that both films are sequels. In both [REC] and Alien, characters are sealed in a closed environment, hunted down and killed by a malevolent force. Before the characters start dying, however, there is a period in which they develop and interact with each other. You get to know them and their relationships so that when they die you care. The actors in both films have natural and spontaneous reactions because they had been left somewhat in the dark about what was happening in the film. Ridley Scott didn't tell the cast what was going to happen in the chest buster scene and the actors in [REC] didn't have access to more than a couple of lines of script at a time. When seen for the first time both films were something of an unknown quantity.
With a sequel the actors and audience will know a lot about the film's premise and the sequel is stuck with the internal logic of its predecessor. Neither [REC]2 nor Aliens could pull the same tricks as the films that they are based on. Both films need to do something different. Both choose to continue by sending in the marines: in [REC]2's case a GEO team, the Spanish equivalent of SWAT. In Aliens tension within the team that is sent to investigate is provided by Carter Burke (Paul Reiser) a representative of the company. His agenda is quite different from that of Ripley (Sigourney Weaver ) and the marines. The alternate agenda in [REC]2 is provided by Dr Owen (Jonathan Mellor), a Catholic Priest sent by the Vatican disguised as a public health official.
Dr Owen and the GEO team have to investigate the quarantined building from [REC]. Dr Owen already knows much more than he initially lets on. They are not dealing with infection but with demonic possession. Dr Owen needs to recover a blood sample from the original victim. The mission does not go according to plan.
Time hasn't been spent developing characters, so when they start dying there is little emotional impact. The GEO team numbers only four so when the film is in danger of running out of bodies some kids are thrown into the mix. The acting lacks the raw feel from the first film. Another thing [REC]2 misses is ambiguity in the plot - everything is black and white, everything is explained. But the film isn't dull as it does crack along at a fair pace, providing more than enough in your face zombie action. Like the first film it keeps the camera up close and personal. In the end it doesn't fill its sibling's shoes but does compare well to other films out there.Reviewed on: 05 Mar 2010