Newest Review: ... average horror movie, but the release that it gets from an 18 certificate and the first person camera viewpoint means that what we get i... more
I'm a reporter, get me out of here!
Member Name: sunmeilan
Advantages: Seriously made me jump
Disadvantages: May be too gory and scary for some
Angela is a reporter for a local TV station and is making a documentary about firemen and their everyday life on the job. Initially, things seem rather boring - there are no calls and Angela and her cameraman are forced to sit around waiting. Finally a call comes. It seems to be a rather mundane one - residents in a block of flats heard a neighbour screaming. But when they go to investigate, they find a woman who has lost her senses and takes a serious bite out of a police officer's face. Then the building is quarantined with no apparent explanation for the residents. Angela is keen to carry on filming so that what happens is preserved for eternity...but is she going to like what she finds? And will she live to tell her story?
I love horrors and thrillers, but to be honest, these days, I am hard pushed to have much of a reaction - the goriest of films barely affect me. And although I liked the Blair Witch Project, since then, I've found films that deliberately look as if they are made by amateurs to be dull - Cloverfield, for example, I thought was one of the most boring films I've ever watched. Knowing that Rec is made along those lines, I didn't hold out much hope despite the hype. Thankfully I was wrong - this film affected me in a way that I haven't experienced for many years now - I just wish I had seen it on the big screen rather than on my trusty, but not exactly large, television.
The acting is not the most important part of this film - it is the atmosphere and the having no idea what is going to happen next that really make it. However, the actors do play their part. Angela is played by Manuela Velasco. Initally, she annoyed the hell out of me. She is an obnoxious reporter who is quite prepared to step on everyone's toes in order to get the story she wants and has a rather nasty temper to go with it. However, when it comes to showing terror, Velasco really does do her job. She completely freaks out and as it is mostly her terror that translates across to the audience, this really does have a big impact. After about half an hour into the film, her terror became mine - I really felt my heart racing.
Angela is really the only character who has a major impact on the film. Pablo the cameraman is also important, but we don't ever get to see his face; just his hands and his responses to Angela. This is very well done though and really adds to the feeling of panic and terror. The rest of the cast as a whole are excellent; all play their parts as though they really are on the cuff. And in fact, they are at times - there is a scene when someone falls several floors, splatting blood everywhere (as you would) - apparently this was done unexpectedly, so that the reaction we see is a real reaction (although, of course, it was a fake body in case you were wondering...).
Although it isn't always called as such, this is really a zombie film - complete with people taking bites out of each other and spreading the 'infection'. However, I think it is a really refreshing take on the whole zombie theme, although I'm not exactly sure why it should be so refreshing - it is, after all, lots of people trapped in a building with rabid zombies on the loose. Perhaps it is the shaky camera thing, but somehow, directors Jaume Balaguero and Paco Plaza have made a film that is truly terrifying - and I have watched countless numbers of zombie films. There is also an element of the supernatural and demonic forces, which although isn't described in great detail, is interesting and terrifying at the same time. The special effects are pretty damn good. Bite marks taken out of people's faces are shown in all their gory reality and made me flinch.
At about 75 minutes long, this is a relatively short film. I admire directors who decide to cut their films off before the usual 90 minute limit - there is nothing worse than a film that drags on for too long. In this case, there is a real feeling that the film is of documentary length, which adds to its realism, and I loved it. Best of all, there are a couple of twists that are a real surprise and add to the overall atmosphere. By the end of the film, my heart was racing and I felt that I had, for once, watched a quality film.
I probably haven't made it clear so far that this is a Spanish film. I don't speak Spanish, but adore listening to the Spanish language (and have picked up a little bit from watching Spanish films in general), so didn't have a problem with this. The subtitles were excellent and extremely clear; however, even if you have a problem with subtitles, you could probably understand this film without them - it really is the action and not the dialogue that is important here.
There were no extras with my disc (and am therefore reviewing the film only version), but I think there is a two disc version with all the extras you could hope for if you're so inclined.
All in all, this is a truly excellent film that I would recommend to any fan of the horror/thriller genre. Of course, if the genre doesn't appeal, you'll want to stay way. And no doubt those who don't like foreign language films will be put off. More fool you, I say! This really is a great film and I think a lot of people will be surprised by its quality. And at 7.8 votes out of 10 on imdb.com, a lot of people clearly agree with me. Highly recommended. This is the best film I've seen this year.
The DVD is available from play.com for £3.99.
Running time: 75 minutes
Summary: It made me jump - an experience I'd forgotten about!