Tuesday, April 13, 2010

In short: Rec 2 (2009)

It is still the same night as in Rec. The authorities send a four man SWAT team into the quarantined building with the zombie problem as protection for a Dr. Owen (Jonathan Mellor), a man supposedly from the Ministry of Health. The men are told Owen's mission is to find out what is going on in the apartment building and to rescue any survivors. The SWAT guys don't have the faintest idea what is really happening, so the first zombie contact turns out to be even more lethal than it would have been had they come prepared.

It doesn't take long until the cops learn that Owen isn't working for the Ministry of Health at all. He's a priest, and his mission is to somehow get a sample of the blood of patient zero of the whole zombie/possession mess; survivors are of no interest at all, there's only the blood, and the need to document as much proof on camera as possible (or we wouldn't have a film, and we don't want that). Why the Vatican needs proof for the supernatural is never explained. Probably on a need to know basis.

Separate from the cops and the priest, a trio of stupid teenagers (with a camera, too, don't worry), a fireman and a man looking for his family have managed to sneak into the quarantine zone, too. It's difficult to imagine that this can end good for anyone involved.

If you are one of those people who had problems with the religious zombie explanation of the first film, you should probably avoid Rec 2, because director/writers Jaume Balaguero (who seems to have a thing for the Devil, going by his other films) and Paco Plaza aren't taking anything of that stuff back. Quite the opposite, the religious elements of the plot are much stronger here, and the not necessarily supernatural zombies of the first film become full-grown supernatural menaces. On the plus side, this does explain the tactically sound behaviour the zombies already showed in the first film nicely.

This merry atheist of a reviewer didn't have any problems with any of that. If I can accept the walking dead, I can also accept the walking dead possessed by demons for the length of a movie.

Rec 2 isn't a plot heavy film anyway. Exposition and moments of silence do not amount too much of its running time. Like its predecessor this is a film that proudly wears the banner of the horror film as a chaotic rollercoaster ride. That is not exactly my favourite type of horror film, but - as it was with the first part - Rec 2 is so breathless, exciting and brutal that it just gets the adrenaline pumping. There's a wonderful sense of panic about the proceedings the viewer is allowed to witness, strong enough to help one ignore all implausibilities the script might or might not contain.

Apart from its successes at making me jumpy and nervous, the only other memorable things about Rec 2 are the meanest child zombies I have ever seen and the film's open disgust with authority, here represented by the dubious priest Owen who is as much a servant of a loving god as I am a nun.

That's all, and it's more than enough for a satisfying movie.


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