A POV Experience into Fear & Horror
Rec is a Spanish horror film that was released in 2007. It was made when found footage sprouted in popularity and was a major international release in the subgenre. It also revitalized the unique takes to make zombie films since during that time they were getting stale.
Before the release of movies like Cloverfield and Paranormal Activity, Rec set a major precedent in creating the basic trappings in found footage. Rec can be viewed on Roku streaming apps like Tubi and is a guaranteed recommendation.
Behind the Creation of REC
Rec takes a unique perspective in horror film scenarios by focusing on the patient zero event prevalent in zombie movies. To capture this feeling, the film is done in the style of a television interview program. Much of the film is treated with grounded realism that gradually builds the tension and horror in the film.
Before they wrote and directed Rec together, Jaume Balaguero and Paco Plaza worked on a documentary style film called OT: La pelicula. The film utilized many of the camera techniques they used for their next major project while changing it a little to bring out the suspenseful elements. Rec was also filmed on location in Barcelona, Spain.
The Unlucky Residents of the Infested Apartment
The main characters are a young woman reporter named Angela Vidal (Manuela Velasco) and her cameraman Pablo (Pablo Rosso). Manuela Velasco portrayed Angela in every installment she appears in from Rec 2 to the latest film Rec: Apocalypse. Her role throughout the film is the audience surrogate reacting and responding to the events around her.
A vast majority of the side characters are played by unknowns and Pablo’s actor shares the same name. This follows the casting tropes for naming characters in found footage films after their real life first names. The only two named characters whose actors were in other films was Manuela and Javier Botet, who portrays the horrifying patient zero that appears in the film’s climax.
A Normal Interview Devolves Into a Struggle for Survival
Rec’s plot begins with Angela Vidal hosting a documentary series called While You’re Sleeping. Her latest episode covers a group of firemen when they get a call for a woman in distress in an apartment complex close by. The firemen respond and Angela follows to continue her cover on the firemen.
What was thought to be a rather routine operation and cover story soon devolves into pure horror as the distressed woman turns violent. Things got worse as her affliction started to spread throughout the apartment. Soon the entire complex was sealed up by authorities. Without any escape, Angela and a group of residents have to work together to survive.
The Claustrophobic Effects of Shaky Cam
The atmosphere of Rec, once the action sets off, can be best described as frantic claustrophobia or panic horror. Pablo the cameraman moves and shakes the camera around whenever moments of horror occur. This builds on the impact of the scenes whenever the zombies attack or charge towards the character.
Because of the camera motion and forced POV of the film, Rec succeeds in drawing in the viewers into the horrifying situation. This makes pop up scares, tense scenes, and loud screams startling at best. At the same time, viewers with photosensitivity must watch with caution to avoid camera induced headaches since the movements can be severe.
Rec is an incredible movie and the plot is easy to follow even with quick subtitles. The gradual escalation of events from the first encounter to the spread of the contagion helps to avoid getting lost in the frantic found footage style. Rec’s effective premise earned it many awards, including Spain’s equivalent of the Grammy’s called the Goya awards.
Rec was one of the best horror films released in 2007. The movie also gained a following and has several sequels released throughout the years. Roughly one year after the release of Rec, an American remake named Quarantine was released in theaters. The remake follows the overall same story only with different setting, dialogue, and origin of the outbreak.
REC (2007) Official Trailer