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[Rec] 2 | DVD Review

“Balaguero and Plaza have amped up the adrenaline and gore in the sequel, making for a horror-hound’s delight. [REC] 2 is scarier, bloodier, and meaner than its predecessor, which is saying a lot!”

When you hear the phrase ‘more of the same’ in reference to a sequel, especially the sequel to a horror film, it’s not usually a compliment. But when it’s the follow-up to the hugely successful and scary-as-hell [REC], it can’t be anything but a compliment. [REC] 2, from writers/directors Jaume Balaguero and Paco Plaza, delivers on the promise of ‘more of the same’. In fact, it’s a whole lot more of everything: more action, more scares, and waaay more blood than its predecessor.

[REC] 2 picks up 15 minutes after the end of the previous film, when reporter Angela Vidal (Manuela Velasco) was dragged away screaming by the creature in the attic. A small group of SWAT team members must lead a doctor (a perfectly-cast Jonathan Mellor, whose eyes looked like they would pop out of their sockets at any second) into the building in order to get a blood sample in the attic in hopes of finding a cure to the illness plaguing the tenants of the building, an ilness that turns them into zombie-like creatures who will stop at nothing to sink their teeth into you. What they find proves to be much more than a medical issue, and they, along with some kids who snuck into the building to do some video-snooping of their own, are not allowed to leave until the good doctor can procure the blood sample and give the voice command to those standing on guard outside not to shoot them and that he’s got the payload.

In order to one-up the intensity of the first film, Balaguero and Plaza introduce a religious aspect into the equation that was only hinted at in [REC], as well as the notion that not everybody is who they seem to be. This only adds to the feeling that the audience isn’t quite sure of what’s going on until the end of the film, when everything wraps up, perhaps a little too neatly for everyone’s taste. Once again, the action is all caught in POV fashion, either on the SWAT team members’ helmet cams or the kids’ video camera, and its to the directors’ credit that this is pulled off rather seamlessly, even with the brief time change when we are first introduced to the kids sneaking into the building through an underground tunnel. The POV ‘gimmick’ in horror films is a tricky affair, where there’s no middle ground between capturing the essence of the situation and the characters’ experiences perfectly, a la Blair Witch Project or Cloverfield, or falling flat, like Diary of the Dead. Luckily, [REC] 2 falls into the former category.

There isn’t much to be said about the 1.85:1 widescreen presentation and the 5.1 Dolby Digital surround, except that it accurately depicts the home video style that the POV format necessitates, and only once or twice does it veer ever so slightly off course where you think it might take away from the guerilla filmmaking style. In terms of special features, Sony Pictures does not disappoint with this disc, packing it with 80 minutes of bonuses:

Deleted and Extended Scenes:

There are 4 extended or deleted scenes totalling just under 7 minutes. None of them would have added anything special to the finished product, although the film would have been none the worse for having them included.

Behind the Scenes Featurettes:
This excellent documentary – when selecting ‘Play All’ from the menu – is 53 minutes in which much of the cast and crew discuss, deconstruct, rehearse, and shoot 3 key scenes of the film. The SWAT team’s first foray into the attic is given the most screen time here as Plaza, Balaguero, et al. explain the procedure of preparing for and then shooting the scene. It truly does give one a better impression of how difficult it actually is to shoot one of these POV films. It’s especially hard on the visual effects team, as they have to deal with constantly-jittery cameras while trying to do their jobs.

A Walkthrough of the Set:
In this 9 minute featurette, production designer Gemma Fauria walks the audience through the set, explaining how they had to make sure that everything looked the same as the first film, and how they had to make sure to be careful not to break or damage many of the props and furnishings, as a lot of it was the real deal, belonging to people who live there.

[REC] 2 on Tour:

Cute segment showing the directors and various principals taking [REC] 2 to the Venice and Sitges International film festivals, as well as to a preview screening in France.

Sitges Film Festival Press Conference:
An 11 minute Q&A session from Sitges, in which Plaza and Balaguero discuss how they wanted to go for more blood, more intensity, more evil than the first film. They also discuss how all they want to do is entertain the audience and that people tend to draw their own comparisons to other films, proving that horror films and their themes are more often than not subjective.

While it’s rare to be able to say that a sequel is an improvement on the original, [REC] 2 is a notable exception. [REC] is by no means a slouch, but Balaguero and Plaza have amped up the adrenaline and gore in the sequel, making for a horror-hound’s delight. [REC] 2 is scarier, bloodier, and meaner than its predecessor, which is saying a lot!

Movie rating – 4.5

Disc Rating – 4

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