Lord, three reviews for the price of one? What am I getting myself into. ‘[REC]‘ the trilogy however is JUST that good that it deserves the dedication and singling out. Even while I’m writing this, a fourth in the series is getting busted out but as you’ll read below, though sadly the films start to lose their connectivity as time goes on and new directors take over. Still, all in all, any fans of zombies or scary things in the dark will appreciate this series as the terrifying tale of gore and fright that it is. While I won’t bore you with the name of spanish actors that will mean nothing to about 95% of the people who will read this article, I will tell you that the acting itself is dead on.
The first two movies have a VERY different feel and approach to the zombie theme than the latest installment which is both frustrating and interesting. It’s annoying because you kind of fall in love with the “found footage” approach taken in [REC] and [REC]2 which YES has now been done a million times over now but was admittedly more original a decade ago when this series started. What matters is that it’s done WELL here- you believe the camera would stay on to record this (for reasons given that I won’t offer up to spoiler alert you out of reading forward) and it captures the story as terrifyingly as if you were there. [REC]3 pays homage to the style by beginning its tale with the footage thing but goes all Tarantino on your ass and turns into a blockbuster style flick once the zombies take over as if to say: “we’re done making up reasons to have a nerd want to capture this for evidence; let’s just watch some zombies kill some people in the hills of Spain”. Personally, the first two are what make the series for me but I’m open-minded enough to laugh and still be consumed by the more typical third installment and definitely think you should give these films a chance… subtitles and all!
The first REC (which was remade and actually well done by the vixenous Jennifer Carpenter in Quarantine) follows a news reporter as she attempts to interview firemen on a regular late night call to a gorgeous Spanish apartment building. Yes, firemen and yes hot. No, there is ZERO gay undertones in this movie.. one of the bigger failings of it if you ask me. That said, most everyone is too busy “turning” and trying to rip each other apart for much sex to happen. The zombies in this thriller sequel are NOT the slow wandering thuds of “Walking Dead”: these mofos are AGGRESSIVE and fucking terrifying. Old ladies, little kids, pets: no one is safe and no one is allowed out of the building. It’s a CLASSIC zombie story and instant cult hit for anyone who likes the genre. I appreciate the SLIGHT introduction of science/mythology nearing the end and actual care about the characters. Well done.
For number two I won’t say I’m less impressed but I didn’t QUITE get as involved with this lot as I did with the original cast. BUT, what I love love love is that this story takes place alongside its original. It’s the telling of some people outside of the apartment featured in REC who sneak in (for the most part) and how they try to stay alive. There’s overlapping filming of characters from the first film and you get the story- with just as much gore and fright- from a different POV. It’s smart and a great approach to take. If you liked the first one it’s impossible not to watch the second.
Here’s where it goes off a little for me. The story told in [REC]3 once again maintains the timeline and happens alongside the first two and makes references to the fated apartment building but instead we follow the zombie disease to a wedding in the Spanish hills. The movie starts just as the first two did and very suddenly shifts purposefully and almost comedically into a typical zombie film and you hate/love it for it. The actors here definitely play up the drama and add a lot more humour than is involved in the originals and suddenly god and mythology take a huge role. I think this one is for the true fans who like to see series though but do not watch if the first movies are sacrilege and you don’t want the image of the set tainted by “hollywood acting and filming”. It’s bloody as all getup and you’ll LOVE the bride as she goes balls out crazy, chainsaw and all. It’s a depressing and lovely love story as well if you like mixing that in with your scares!
I definitely thumbs up this whole series and can’t wait for the fourth! Let me know what you think/thought below!