By: Peter Hall, reprinted from Fantastic Fest 9/29/09
I like that the original [REC]'s real-time unraveling of an apartment building under quarantine for a mysterious virus that turns the infected into fluid spewing, flesh clawing maniacs is logistically conducive to a sequel. I really like that returning filmmakers Jaume Balaguero and Paco Plaza can pick up from the second they left off and tell another (almost real-time) story still shot entirely in the first-person perspective without being confined to a single camera's viewpoint thanks to our new story proxies by way of a doctor and his four SWAT-team escorts. And I absolutely love how [REC] 2 not only upgrades some aspects of the apartment, of the virus, and of the victims, but it completely overhauls the presentation of the proceedings. Yet I still have one nag.
[REC] 2 is not scary. Not one bit, actually. Even after 4 or 5 viewings (and the American remake, Quarantine), [REC] still turns my circulatory system into a NASCAR event, but none of that pulse dominating terror and anticipation is matched in the sequel. But what Balaguero and Plaza don't deliver in the fear department, they deliver in the idea department. [REC] 2 may not be scary, but it damn sure has more concept and convention re-toolings than you can shake a rail-thin, pale-white, string-haired woman wielding a claw hammer at.