Tag Archives: Manuela Velasco

[REC] 4: Apocalipsis (2014)

<strong class="MovieTitle">[REC] 4: Apocalipsis</strong> (2014)

(On Cable TV, September 2015) Oh well; like all horror series, the [REC] sequence has now reached a terminal point of no return.  [REC] 2 was uneven, [REC] 3 was barely redeemed by its last ten minutes, but [REC] 4 is just… dull.  The film picks up moments after the second film (while featuring a bit player from the third one) but quickly locks itself up in a cargo ship where no one, heroes, zombies or viewers, can run away.  The result is surprisingly dull, with rote zombie scare and mediocre slug-parasite suspense.  Manuela Velasco isn’t too bad as the battered chipmunk-faced heroine of the series (she’s the centerpiece of the film’s best sequence, an attempted vivisection that plays with our sympathies at a moment when her true nature isn’t obvious.) but returning director Jaume Balagueró compounds [REC] 4’s problems with a camera style that combines not only herky-jerky handheld camera (without the excuse of found-footage), but incomprehensible rapid-fire editing as well, making a dark mush of the film’s action sequences.  There isn’t much here that hasn’t been seen before, and the closed-off nature of the setting doesn’t bring much to the result.  As a result, [REC] 4 is –unfortunately- a bit of a chore to get through.  Rumors have it that this is meant to be the last installment in the series, which seems appropriate given its downhill trend.  On the other hand, it does leave with an underwhelming conclusion…  

[Rec] (2007)

<strong class="MovieTitle">[Rec]</strong> (2007)

(On DVD, December 2009) Now that Rec has been remade for American audience as Quarantine, you may think that there’s little reason to seek out a small-budget foreign horror film.  But there’s a reason why Rec was chosen for remaking, and the original film remains a strikingly effective piece of horror cinema.  Another first-person camera chiller, Rec proceeds from the elegant premise of a TV camera crew following firemen for a slice-in-the-life fluff program and then getting trapped in a building as increasingly disturbing events occur.  As this meticulously-paced film advances, we come to realize that the situation has escalated all the way up to a claustrophobic zombie thriller… and it just keeps getting worse.  Manuela Velasco is magnificent as a ditzy reporter stuck in an impossible situation, but it’s really co-directors/writers Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza who deserve the credit for a slick horror film that knows exactly what it’s doing: the bright clean cinematography is gradually stripped away, and the conceit of the filming camera is handled with a great deal of cleverness.  There are shocks, there is a growing sense of dread and the terrific final images are strong enough that they were co-opted for the entire American remake’s marketing strategy.  It’s nothing short of a perfect treat for the horror fan, even those tired of the current zombie craze.  If you can manage it, try to see Rec just before Quarantine for an instructive comparative lesson in how a lot more money thrown at a premise doesn’t necessarily result in a markedly better product.  The Canadian DVD contains the film in Spanish, French and English, but few other extras.