Reviewed by Uncle Creepy
Starring Manuela Valasco, Javier Botet, Claudia Font, Pablo Rosso
Directed by Paco Plaza and Jaume Balaguero
Distributed by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Even though we already had a remake (Quarantine (review here)) and there's a sequel on the way, after two years Sony years has finally gotten around to releasing the film that started it all, [REC], onto DVD here in the States (Canada's had it for the better part of a year). What was the hold-up? That's anyone's guess. The only thing we can hope is that people ignore the horrid cover art and pick it up anyway.
[REC] tells the tale of TV news reporter Ángela Vidal (Valasco) and her cameraman as they spend the evening at a local firehouse hanging out and joking with the brave firemen. Apart from the sight gags of sliding down a pole, Ángela hopes they at least get to go out on a call with the guys so she can chronicle what it's like to have such a dangerous job. Sometime during the night her wish is granted, but the events that unfold upon getting to the scene of the emergency are far more frightening and deadly than she could have ever hoped to imagine.
Something's very wrong at this little apartment building. People are dying and then reanimating. Their faces twisted. Their voices replaced by growls and what sounds like the gargling of some form of viscous fluid within their lungs. It's not long before the powers-that-be show up and quarantine the building, trapping Ángela, her crew, and whoever else is still amongst the living inside.
Directors Paco Plaza and Jaume Balaguero's [REC] is one of the most intense and claustrophobic slices of cinéma-vérité style filmmaking you're ever likely to see. It stands on its own from the remake and has a far more satisfying and spooky reason for the outbreak than just rabies like the American film offered. Not to mention the fact that when it comes time to show the wicked evil horrible thing at the end of the film, we actually get to see it rather than redux director John Dowdle's approach of just showing us short glimpses. Minute for minute, second for second, this version of the [REC] tale is without question the one to see if given the choice.
If only Sony had treated the film a bit better for its release. As mentioned, the art is atrocious, and the only special feature they've seen fit to include is an eighteen-minute making-of featurette. That's it. This entire package just feels like one big missed opportunity. And where's the damned Blu-ray? We'll probably be waiting another two years for that.
Also, if you can't stand subtitles and prefer an English language dubbed audio track (and please leave this site if you do) over the original Spanish track with subbys, you're in luck. There's one included here, but wow, is it painful. Nearly unwatchable. Just go watch Quarantine instead. You've been warned.
Even though it's shown up late to the party and its presentation is essentially that of ass, [REC] belongs in your horror library. At the very least you can love this DVD for the film. The movie is that damned good.
4 out of 5
1 out of 5
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