Thursday, 4 August 2011


I've been doing a lot of film semi-reviews lately. No particular reason, other than most of the time (especially if it's a horror film) I've watched the film alone, and I'd like to share my views with someone, even if it's just the endless void of the Web.

Last night (actually, it was the night before, but who's counting?) I rewatched [REC], in preparation for [REC] 2 which I found cheap in (of all places) Sainsburys. [REC] is one of a glut of 'camcorder' films that were popular a few years ago - especially with monster/horror films. I suppose the artistic reason is try and put the audience right there with amongst the action, but it's also a great way to make things on the cheap as it doesn't matter if the picture is a bit crappy.

I suppose it started with Blair Witch, and reached a peak with Cloverfield. My (and probably a lot of other peoples') memories of these films are 'snot' and 'feeling sick', respectively.

A film done in this way is very limiting. Having the entire thing from one camera imposes a lot of restrictions on both the story and what can be shown, and can get a bit boring to watch. Diary of the Dead had the good idea of finding a second camera part way through the film, which added a bit of variety.

The other problem is finding a decent reason why someone is holding a camera for the entire 90 (or whatever) minutes the film lasts. 'Filming the disaster for historical reasons' is fine, but generally if a monster wants to eat your brains the most sensible thing to do would be to drop the thing and run for it.

[REC] has the decent set-up of having a documentary crew quarantined in a building. Filming continues first because the reporter wants a decent story about what the authorities are doing trapping them, and later because of the essential light the camera provides (and later its night-vision capabilites).

All decent enough reasons.

My memory of [REC] from the first viewing was Terror. I couldn't really remember the plot other than the basic outline, but I did remember it being pretty darn scary. Upon rewatching I don't think it actually is that scary, but it is very exhausting.

I'd planned to watch [REC] 2 immediately afterwards but I was just too drained to start again. I know it's a bit of a cliché, but [REC] is like a rollercoaster. It slowly builds and builds and then, when you reach the top of the ride, everything is unleashed for the final act and doesn't stop until you hit the end.

And when it does you're so tired you can't do anything for a while but sit and watch the credits.

It'll be interesting to see where they take [REC] 2. There wasn't much in the way of survivors after the first, and quite why new people would voluntarily enter the building is beyond me.

I guess I'll find out later tonight...

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