Tuesday, March 25, 2008

nervous rec.

[Rec] (2007)
Dir: Jaume Balagueró, Paco Plaza
Cast: Manuela Velasco, Vicente Gil, Pablo Rosso, Ferran Terraza, Claudia Font, Manuel Bronchud, Martha Carbonell, María Teresa Ortega, Carlos Vicente, David Vert, Jorge Serrano.


Bubbly Teevee reporter Angela (the strangely cute and slightly bunny-like Velascois) and her cameraman Pablo are covering the (mundane) late shift in a Barcelona fire station for the reality series When You're Asleep, meeting the firemen, playing basketball and chatting to the receptionist in the hope that they can find something exciting to record before dawn.


The calm is broken by a routine call from a local apartment block where it appears that an old lady has locked herself out and, deciding that this must be better than nothing, Angela and Pablo hitch a ride with friendly firefighting duo Manu (Terraza) and Alex (Vert).

Arriving at the apartment building to find the police already there and the residents standing about in the hallway after a fire alarm looking slightly bemused and somewhat annoyed by the situation.

The intrepid band, led by the high waisted and permanently grumpy policeman in charge, head upstairs to the old womans flat and are surprised to find not somebodies gran looking sick and shouting "Whit?" in a bemused way but a saggy titted white faced harridan insistent on tearing out the dear old coppers throat with her teeth.

Which is nice.

Understandably the rescue team want out (and a wee bit of back-up) as soon as possible and head back to the lobby (carrying the throatless fat man) only to find the whole building sealed off with big bin bags and a squad of chemical suited folk outside telling them not to panic.

It appears that the whole block is now quarantined due to a mystery virus and the best thing would be for everyone to stay put till the authorities get it under control.

Meanwhile it seems that the old lady has gone walkabouts, someones dad is unaccounted for and a small girl has a very serious sounding cough......

"Touch mah titties!"

Directing duo Balaguero and Plaza have crafted a fantastic high concept yet low budget mini masterpiece of a movie (which is a wee bit of a shock seeing as they brought us the Calista Flockhart snoozefest Fragile and the shaggy dog Werewolf epic Romasanta before this).

The set-up is simple and played to perfection reveling in the mundaneness of the fire crews lives whilst Velasco is instantly likable as the eager to please Angela, ably supported by Terraza and Vert and the unseen Pablo.

Everyone is so natural and real that when the blood finally hits the fan we feel like we're experiencing every terrifying moment with them, which is nerve wracking seeing as from that point in the film becomes a shock-tastic frenzy of ferociously fearsome fun that never lets up till the credits roll.

"Mine too!"

The best thing about [Rec]. tho' is that it is a genuinely scary movie that, alongside Neil Marshall's The Descent taps into the very real fear of becoming trapped in a familiar world turned upside down (not literally mind) and whilst synopses of the film band about cliched quotes about 'zombies' and 'rabies' leaving you to expect a brainless horror 'b' picture there is in fact much more to [Rec] than first seems.

"Laugh now!"

Currently being remade (badly probably) in the States as Quarantine, my advice to you dear readers is to rush out now and catch the original on it's (limited) UK release.

You can thank me later.

Manuela Velasco gives her
verdict on the American remake.

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