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  Publicity Stills of
(Courtesy of GV

In Spanish with English Subtitles
Director: Jaume Balaguero, Paco Plaza
Cast: Manuela Velasco, Ferran Terraza, Javier Botet, Manuel Bronchud, Martha Carbonell, Claudia Font, Vicente Gil, María Teresa Ortega, Pablo Rosso
RunTime: 1 hr 15 mins
Released By: GV
Rating: TBA
Official Website: http://www.wildsideproject.com/site/rec/

Opening Day: 30 October 2008


[.REC] revolves around a television reporter, Angela, and her cameraman, Pablo, who cover the night shift in one of Barcelona's local fire stations. The firehouse receives a call from an old lady trapped in her house. When they arrive, and the firemen and the police break down the door, the old lady suddenly attacks and bites one of the policemen, and it is revealed that an unknown but virulent disease is infecting people, causing them to turn into zombies. The police and the military quarantine the building and the camera crew is trapped inside, constantly recording the mayhem that ensues. By the finale they uncover the horrifying truth of the situation and realise the infection may be more than a mere virus.

Movie Review:

In 1999, a little independent movie that was The Blair Witch Project made news when it achieved a successful ratio of box office sales to production cost in American filmmaking history. While academics went on to discuss the movie’s accomplishment of using the Internet for spiral publicity, other mere mortals went on to talk about the movie’s unforgettable shaky camera work. The effect it had on movie goers made many swore never to step into a low cost horror movie again.

Eight years later, without considering that this concept of incorporating the camera and crew into the film's plot may be a stale idea, Spanish filmmakers Jaume Balaguero (Fragile) and Paco Plaza (Romasanta: The Werewolf Hunt) decided to make this horror thriller, complete with shaky camera work. The movie went on to win numerous awards at festivals like the Catalonian Film International Festival, the Gerardmer Film Festival and the main national film event at home in Spain, the Goya Awards.

For a horror movie to achieve that, it is something worth shouting about. Or to put it more aptly in context, screaming about – we have not felt so squeamish at the movies for quite a while.

The story isn’t anything to be excited because you know victims will drop dead one by one anyway: A young (and pretty!) television reporter (played convincingly by Manuela Velasco) and her cameraman are on the night shift at a fire department when a sudden call to rescue an elderly woman comes in. The ambitious (and brave!) duo follows the rescue team crew to save the poor (and potentially dangerous!) hag trapped in her apartment. All hell breaks loose when they arrive at the scene, and the objective to shoot the entire happenings becomes a terrible nightmare.

We have seen many zombie movies, and after a while, we do get numbed by the gory makeup, the obligatory shocks, the dreary fear to hide from the monsters and the tedious commentary on commercialism and society. So when something so dumbfounding comes along, we sat up and watched, in fear nonetheless, as the screams get increasingly bloodcurdling throughout the movie’s brief 75 minute runtime.

From the get go, this picture wastes no time in setting up the plot. Before you know it, people are getting infected by an unknown virus, people are turning into bloodthirsty creatures, and you are crouching in fear as the filmmakers terrify you with the movie’s every spot on scare. For the faint hearted, this will stress your gentle nerves. For the braver viewers, we can’t guarantee that you will hold that “no horror movie will ever scare me” title. Other than effectively using handheld camera work, the movie also utilizes the video camera’s technical functions of night vision and audio distortion to make this a truly engrossing horror experience.

The movie acts like a thrilling but claustrophobic haunted house roller coaster ride: There is no space for you to breathe, and the atmosphere is so tense you don’t know what to do with your popcorn. Watch out for that falling corpse from above! Beware of that demon child in the attic! Look out for that possessed monster lounging towards you! We are sure that you’d be as disturbed as us when the movie ends.

Movie Rating:

(Be it the deafening silence or the piercingly horrific screams, you’ll be shrouded in fear by this gleefully scary movie)

Review by John Li


. Quarantine (2008)

. Doomsday (2008)

. Cloverfield (2008)

. Disturbia (2007)

. 28 Weeks Later (2007)

. Resident Evil: Extinction (2007)

. Planet Terror (2007)

. Frostbite (2006)

. Land of the Dead (2005)

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