Hey folks, Harry here... Back in 2002, I saw a film by Jaume Balaguero called DARKNESS... I absolutely hated it. I was told that he was capable of good work, so I found his film, THE NAMELESS and found it to be much better. That said... The word I've been hearing on [REC] is nothing short of spectacular. The film is being remade by the team behind THE POUGHKEEPSIE TAPES - which frankly I found to be quite good, though I admit that at BNAT, I was in a minority - though I do know almost everyone in that minority. However - I'm dying to see [REC] - The Spanish produced horror films and fantastic films have been... well, fantastic. At Sitges this past year it won the Audience Award, Best Actress, Best Director, the Critic's Award and the Grand Prize of European Fantasy Film in Silver! As of now, there's no announced planned release date in the U.S. - But it hits France on February 20th and the UK on March 21st. Y'all are very very lucky!
[REC] Okay, let me start by getting a few things off my chest, so to speak. 1) I LOVE being scared at the cinema. 2) I LOVE zombie films. 3) I think that 28 days later is great at the beginning and great at the end, but the middle bit, with the army, is pure rubbish. 4) I know that 28 weeks later is a WAAAAAY better film than 28 days later. 5) I think that the Zack Snyder’s remake of Dawn of the Dead is better than the original. So, now that’s all out in the open, let me tell you about a small Spanish movie called [REC]. I speak very little Spanish, I can understand it better than speak it, but when watching this film it does not matter if you speak the language – fear has a language all of its own, which is universally understood. The story begins slowly. A local news reporter is doing an on the spot short piece about a local fire crew, what they do off duty, what’s it like being a fireman e.t.c. It’s important to note here that the entire film is shot with a news video camera, YOU are watching the action through the video cam. Think Blair Witch / Cloverfield. Of course, the reporter tags along when the crew are called to a house in the middle of the city. Of course, you sit there knowing that she should not get in the firetruck, but, you know, she does. Bad for her, GREAT for us. On arrival at the house, the reporter and the crew are met by a huddled mass of people and are directed to the room of an old woman who lives on one of the upper floors. The crew, accompanied by two policeman/security guards, find the old woman wandering in her apartment. We can see via the camera, that she is has bloodstains down her nightclothes. GUESS WHAT? She ain’t well. All hell breaks loose. From that point on this film does not stop. The terrified reporter screaming into the camera. Confused police officers. A frightened old couple. Kids. Men. Women. Shadowy government representatives. All are in turns, afraid, terrified, running, screaming and bleeding. AWESOME. Yes, I did lose some of the finer details by not fully understanding the dialogue. But to be fair I, and many of my fellow cinemagoers, were watching the movie through our fingers and/or talking directly to the screen. This is the best shared cinemagoing experience I have ever had. People who watch this will tell you that it is 28 days later mixed with The Blair Witch Project. IT IS NOT. It is all of the best bits of both films, ramped up 100% and then some. Co-directors Jaume Balaguero and Paco Plaza have created a truly intense cinematic ride that grabs the viewer by the collar and then rips that collar off, burns it and then rubs the ash in your eyes. For fun. European cinema, especially horror, has been going through a resurgence lately, The Oprhanage, Pan’s Labyrinth, Switchblade Romance, have all been beloved and bestowed with awards and, importantly, financial success. [REC] sits alongside those films comfortably. How often do you try to look behind an on-screen character to see what is going on? I do not know when this is released in the US (UK is March 21), but, whatever, you do, go and see it. With a friend, lots of friends. Pure genius. Pure terror. What cinema was invented for. Mikeyone.