The stand-out, no questions asked, run out and buy it recommendation for this week is undoubtedly [REC], which finally gets a nearly bare-bones release in Region 1. But that's only if you don't already own the excellent Region 2 two-disc special edition. Directed by Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza, [REC] sounded like a tired premise -- I had no desire to see another shaky-cam flick shot entirely from the POV of one camera -- but it's so intelligently executed that it puts the Hollywood remake (Quarantine) to shame.
A local television reporter (the very hot and very convincing Manuela Velasco) is doing a standard "night in the life" of a firefighting crew when they're called to a medical emergency at an apartment building. Events ramp up and out of control very quickly, and that's all I have to say about the plot. [REC] is intense, grueling, and graphic, and I'm not just saying that because my boss Scott Weinberg said it first (in his own words, of course).
It's easy to deride The Haunting in Connecticut as an overly familiar ghost story. The elements are all in place: "based on a true story," creepy old house that nobody in their right mind would buy or rent, and a sordid past ready to leap out and lure unsuspecting teens to their death. But I liked the movie, and part of that is probably the empathy and good will generated by Virginia Madsen as the mother of a seriously-ill teenage boy (Kyle Gallner).