[•REC] 2 Review

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With the infected apartment on shutdown, a government scientist (Mellor) and a four-man SWAT are ordered in to assess the carnage. Their mission: find the host, take a blood sample, get the hell out. Not easy when the rabid zombie residents have arranged their own welcoming party...


You can't keep a good zombie movie down — although [•REC] has stumbled through a fair few head shots. Released three years ago, the Spanish horror unveiled an outbreak from a news crew’s view with such raw, real-time impact that Hollywood immediately lunged for the remake button. The result, Quarantine, was dishonourably shot-for-shot. Then, as if to get rid of the evidence, [•REC] got a swift DVD burial in the States.

No wonder the sequel shifts at such a terrifying pace. Kicking off mere minutes after its predecessor, this segues so seamlessly you could playlist the two movies in one continuous cut. The bloodstains on the staircase look ominously fresh; helicopters are pounding at the windows; and the Medeiros girl is still thumping around the attic. It’s all so eerily familiar, you should know exactly what to expect... until a twist shoots out with its head spinning.

We won’t give the game away, but returning directors Balagueró and Plaza have taken a real risk here and sent their creation into an unseen dimension. The sacrifice is some of [•REC]’s ‘realness’. The gain is an unexpectedly expanded world welted with deep, nasty twists, along with some slightly stupider ones. Remember when Alien went Aliens? Similar effect.

Still, you get the feeling the directors get so carried away with delivering as visceral an experience as possible they forget to take any characters along for the ride. In just 80 pithy minutes, the original offered up Manuela Velasco’s reporter and Ferran Terraza’s fireman as credible, sympathetic witnesses to a vividly shocking outbreak. You desperately didn’t want them to get infected. Here, the cast are plot pushers and zombie fodder. It’s less scary because there’s no-one to be scared for. The panic, however, is electric.

Just try sitting still — here’s a horror juddering with such in-your-face malevolent energy, it’s like being caught in a first-person shooter possessed by the devil. A cliffhanger ending hints at a wider scope and bigger ambitions. [•REC] 3, due out next year, will have a lot of questions to answer — and a lot to live up to.

A hectic, hellish sequel that blends daring new ideas with a primal zombie wallop.