[REC] is based on a contagion outbreak in a tower block in the middle of a busy Spanish city centre. Although this was my first foreign film and the subtitles were slightly displeasing, I found this film to be a perfect depiction of how found footage horror films could work successfully.
With some genuinely terrifying jump scares that do not feel cheap like many of the modern horror genre (think Paranormal Activity 3 onwards), [REC] sets a high standard. The interesting nature surrounding this film is that it was remade a year later under the name Quarantine for a US audience, which did not perform as well cinematically or monetarily.
The trailer shows the fire and rescue teams of Barcelona dealing with 4 peculiar ‘unclassified’ emergencies in 2006, and [REC] shows you the 5th. As the Fire and Rescue service enter the building to clear up, it is all behind closed doors and the government is quick to quarantine (excuse the pun) the area to prevent the supposed contagion from spreading.
[REC] has become a staple within the horror genre, and a key film for the mainstream horror audience. This is due to the sheer sense of terror and tension that is sustained throughout, and the fact that it is, simply put, genuinely scary. It manages to overcome a hurdle that many horror films fail to cross, in that it has an engaging plot. The film appears to have wider story arc, and, without spoiling it, the ending hints to an external world that adds to the element of fear. The plot is further developed and explored in the 3 sequels that follow.
[REC] is a clear example that not all successful horrors have to come from Hollywood, and this is further demonstrated when up against its mediocre American twin. Even if horror movies are not to your liking, [REC] is a film worth watching just to see why it was deserving of not only 3 sequels, but also an adaptation.