[Rec] 2 (2009)
By: Devon B. on July 25, 2013 | Comments
Entertainment One | Region B | 1.85:1, 1080P | Spanish DTS-HD MA 5.1 | 81 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Directors: Jaume Balagueró, Paco Plaza
Starring: Jonathan Mellor, Óscar Zafra, Ariel Casas, Alejandro Casaseca
Screenplay: Jaume Balagueró, Paco Plaza, Manu Díez
Country: Spain
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A few years ago I went to see a movie called Quarantine. Somehow I had missed that it was a remake of a Spanish film, so I was expecting a totally uninspired, disposable thriller. I was surprised by the quality of the film, but my viewing experience was greatly enhanced because I was the only patron for the screening. Watching a movie like Quarantine in the middle of a dark, empty theatre was a moment of horror movie greatness. When I caught up with the original film [REC], I wasn't as impressed as I was with Quarantine, probably in part due to the fact I couldn't watch it on my own in a theatre. I also assumed part of the reason I preferred the remake was because of the same thing that happened to people who saw The Ring before Ringu and then thought Ringu was predictable, but [REC] did have a plot point that was a bit different from its remake that I honestly didn't like that much on first viewing. Given that point is the crux of the sequel, I found [REC] 2 tough going the first time I watched it. It'd been awhile since I'd seen the films, so I decided to rewatch them back to back, and was happy to find that I was able to embrace the second film much more this time.

[REC] 2 starts with the final moments of [REC], then within minutes of that a SWAT team has arrived at the building where the infection broke out in the first film. The team enter the premises not really knowing what to expect, except for one guy that clearly knows more than he's letting on. The team quickly find carnage, and it's not long before they run into some of the infected. From that moment on, the film is go, go, go. There is a bit of breather when some other characters get followed, but otherwise [REC] 2 is a virtually non-stop assault.

Like the first film, this one is brimming with spooky corridors, pools of blood and shrieking infectees. The handheld camerawork, or in this case helmet cam, keeps the style flowing between the two movies, and since the movie picks up immediately where the first left off it does feel like a natural continuation of the story. The camerawork deliberately causes confusion at times, so the viewer is disoriented like the characters, but usually I could easily follow what was happening, which made it easy to bask in the cheesy glory of [REC] 2.

I once read that the main difference between the horror and action genres is that in horror it's women and children in danger, whereas in action it's men in peril. I'm not sure that I entirely agree with that, a lot of men get killed in slashers after all, but the fact that [REC] 2 focuses on armed, trained men certainly gives it a different feel from most survivor horror.

While I have a few different reasons for preferring Quarantine to [REC] there is one other thing that swayed me that way that is worth mention. Years ago I had a friend who I lent Horror Hotline…Big Head Monster to because it's awesome, but she didn't think it was scary at all because she found reading the subtitles pulled her out of the story. I didn't feel like that was a problem with Horror Hotline, but it is a valid point that a language barrier can detatch the viewer, and part of the thrill of a movie like [REC] is its immediacy, and there's no denying that having to read subtitles removes some of the immediacy of the film and can even prevent absorption into the chaos. Rather than missing bits of dialogue it's all clearly spelled out, which detracts from the confusion the films are aiming to create. I'm not normally an advocate of Hollywood remakes, but in this instance I can see the reason for one.

Quarantine 2 is not a remake of [REC] 2 and is all the worse for it, so hopefully people don't assume they're the same movie like the first two were. [REC] 2 is a gleefully silly battery of the senses that should delight fans of the original, and is one of those rare instances where the sequel is actually better than the first film (or its remake).
The Disc
At times the movie looks fantastic, and often the image is very detailed, but because of the found footage style there are a few deliberate "faults" on the print. The transfer handles the darks well, which is good given the film in question. The style choices make the film a bit uneven, but this is intentional so not a flaw with the Blu-ray. Audio is available in Spanish DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 or LPCM 2.0 mixes. The 2.0 is truer to the found footage feel but in terms of audio experience the 5.1 leaves it for dead. Being immersed in this film is more fun, and the 5.1 mix helps disorient viewers by placing them in the midst of the madness.

This UK import actually comes with a few extras, unlike the Australian release which features little more than an image gallery. Trailers play on start up for The Tortured, [REC], 7 Days and Unthinkable, while real extras include two making ofs and extended and deleted scenes. The first making of runs longer than the film at nearly two hours and extensively covers the origins of the film, shooting and FX work among other things. If that wasn't enough, there's a bonus 53 minute behind the scenes/making of! The extended scenes mostly just follow the prankster kids, but the deleted scenes feature more attack footage.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
I let my prejudices spoil [REC] 2 the first time around, but I've learnt from that experience and accepted the film for what it is. It's a lot of fun, full of relentless action and doesn't take itself too seriously. The exhaustive special features on this Blu-ray make it an enticing release for the film's fans, and also to people interested in the filming style employed by the series.
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