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Blu Review – [Rec] Collection

[Rec]

Director(s) – Jaume Balaguero ([Rec] 2, Sleep Tight) and Paco Plaza ([Rec] 3: Genesis, Romasanta: The Werewolf Hunt)
Starring – Manuela Velasco (School Killer, Fish People), Ferran Terraza (The Nameless, Countdown), and Jorge-Yamam Serrano (Orson West, Train Station)
Release Date – 2007
Rating – 2.5/5

Tagline – “Experience fear”

Horror always has a few movies a year that are released that cause a stir among horror fans. Back in the late 2000s the found footage film [Rec] was released in Spain and would go on to become a worldwide hit that spawned three sequels and an American remake. I never had a desire to see these films until the third and fourth film was released and looked up my alley.

Honestly, I’m not a fan of found footage films but I always go into them open minded and on occasion I’ve been surprised. The four films was released in an amazing box set from Scream Factory sometime back. I wanted to check them out and Scream was kind enough to send a review copy my way. Thanks guys!

**Spoiler Alert**The film follows a news crew filming a late night show with the local fire department when they get a call that something has happened to an elderly woman living in an apartment complex. However, once they get inside they find themselves barricaded in and under quarantine. Unable to leave, they explore the building and learn that there is people infected with what could be a virus similar to rabies turning normal law abiding citizens into killing machines with the news crew filming every second of the madness unfolding inside. **Spoiler Alert**

I tossed this one in and it was clear after 20 minutes that I was not going to enjoy this. The movie itself was extremely predictable and just as boring. After speaking with several of my horror friends I discovered that I was in the minority. I decided to give it another chance and on the second viewing I learned that I actually disliked it less the second time around.

The acting in this one is solid. The cast had to portray clichéd characters but they did a great job at finding the right emotion during the scene to make it believable. The cast does a very solid job which makes the film a little more watchable.

The story for this one is slow and very predictable. Once they are locked in the building you know exactly how the movie is going to go. I will go ahead and say I have not seen the American remake but I would assume it follows this same story. I did like the end portion once they reached the attic. This was cool and I loved the look of the woman in the attic but this was not enough to make the rest of the film fun.

Finally, the film is shot in true found footage style so the death we do get are usually out of frame or the footage is so shaky you can’t enjoy it. The film doesn’t shy away from blood but don’t expect to see gore. Overall, [Rec] was not as fun as I was hoping. The story is very predictable and the slow scenes makes it a struggle to sit through. I can see why so many enjoy it but it’s not a film for me.

[Rec] 2

Director(s) – Jaume Balaguero (The Nameless, Fragile) and Paco Plaza (A Christmas Tale, Second Name)
Starring – Jonathan D. Mellor (Brain Drain, On Fire), Oscar Zafra (The Return of El Coyote, My Prison Yard), and Ariel Casas (Battle Games, Nowhere)
Release Date – 2009
Rating – 3.5/5

Tagline – “Fear revisited”

Sometimes a sequel is better than the first film. It doesn’t always happen but there is a few times where I liked the sequel more than the first film. My most controversial opinions on horror are how much more I like Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 and Hellbound: Hellraiser 2 more than the original films.

I wasn’t expecting a lot when I tossed in [Rec] 2 but I was very surprised by just how much more I enjoyed this installment over the original film. I know a lot of horror fans really liked the first film but this follow up was far superior in my eyes.

**Spoiler Alert**The film follows a man from the health department and four armed military escorts enter an apartment building that is under quarantine. The escorts are to follow the health department official while he searches for a cause of a virus but they don’t make it far before they are overtaken by the infected. Two of the escorts fall to the infected but the others are able to escape. That is when the official from the health department reveals that he is a priest and those infected are actually possessed by a demonic virus and they need the blood that another priest was working with in order to find a cure. They make their way to the attic where Angela was last scene and find her. The priest refuses to call for their extraction so she kills him and changes her voice to sound like the priest in order to radio for their release from the building. **Spoiler Alert**

I didn’t have much hope for [Rec] 2 after watching the first film but this one was genuinely better. They took what was established in the first film but made it more interested and not so by the book like most zombie/infected movies would.

The acting in this one is once again solid. The cast has to portray generic and clichéd characters but they give it their all which shows in every scene. This really helps move the story along and keeps it interesting.

The story for this one takes what is mentioned in the last 15 minutes or so of the first film and expands upon it. This was a very interesting angle and this film goes deep into this angle. Religious horror can go so many ways but [Rec] 2 does a great job at giving us something different than just a boring zombie movie. Another major improvement is the fast paced scenes when compared to the first. It was a struggle to finish the first film but this one kept me glued to the screen.

Finally, this one is more of the same in terms to on screen deaths. We get plenty of blood and out of focus zombies but we do not get gore or elaborate death scenes. Overall, [Rec] 2 takes everything from the first film and makes it so much better. Many may argue they are the same movie but I will really have to question them as to if they truly watched the two because the sequel is far superior if you ask me. This gives me hope for the third and fourth film. 

[Rec] 3: Genesis

Director – Paco Plaza (Veronica, A Christmas Tale)
Starring – Leticia Dolera (The Nightmare Worlds of H.G. Wells, Penny Dreadful), Diego Martin (The Ministry of Time, Empowered), and Ismael Martinez (The Day of the Beast, The Ministry of Time)
Release Date – 2012
Rating – 4/5

Tagline – “You may now kiss the bride…”

The first [Rec] made me think this was going to be a series that I didn’t care for but the second film really helped me overcome the worry that I had for the series. The first film was extremely difficult to sit through. It was boring but the last 15 minutes or so of the film did spark my interest somewhat.

The follow up film took what I liked from the ending of the first and expanded on it which held my interests very well. After getting through the first two films I was finally able to watch the two I was the most excited for. I couldn’t wait to see 3 and 4 and now it was time to see if they were as good as they looked!

**Spoiler Alert**The film follows Clara and Koldo on their wedding day. They hire a film crew to document their special day. As the memorable day starts out with love and fun it quickly turns dark when a relative, who was bitten earlier by a stranger, attacks a loved one. Soon others infected crash the party and the bride and groom is separated after being forced to flee. The two refuse to become widow and widower on their wedding day and leave their refuge to find each other while fighting their way through waves of infect while the church property is being quarantined to prevent the spread of the virus. **Spoiler Alert**

Before I received this box set from Scream Factory I actually had no desire to see the first two [Rec] films. I’m not a fan of found footage flicks but I really wanted to see the third and fourth film. I was very impressed with the sequel but [Rec] 3: Genesis was the one I really wanted to watch and I’m glad I watched these in order.

The acting in this one is a little better than the previous films. The characters have a little more personality and the cast is given something to work with. The characters are a little clichéd but their outgoing personalities more than makes up for it. The cast does a great job.

The story for this one does not have anything to do with the first two films but does use the same premise. We follow a wedding party who becomes ground zero for an outbreak of demon possessed that is hell bent on killing and eating everyone they can. The movie abandons the found footage style about 20 minutes in or so which was very refreshing for those of you out there that don’t care for it. The first 20 minutes or so are rather boring as we are establishing the setting of the film and the character but once the shit hits the fan the films turns into an extremely fast paced horror film with plenty of action.

Finally, those of you that want gore will finally find it with this installment. We get so many amazing on screen kills as it turns up the kill count. The effects we get are fantastic. We mostly get practical effects but the visual effects we do get are minimal and not that bad. They actually help the gag rather than distract. Overall, [Rec] 3: Genesis is my favorite in the series so far. It is leagues better than the first film and so much more brutal. It does have some goofy moments but those only added to the film. If you don’t like the first film in the series I highly suggest you sit through the first two because this film was worth the torture of the first one.

[Rec] 4: Apocalypse

Director – Jaume Balaguero (The Nameless, Darkness)
Starring – Manuela Velasco ([Rec], Brainiac), Paco Manzanedo (Girl Seeks Girl, The Ministry of Time), and Hector Colome (The Outlaw, Wolf)
Release Date – 2014
Rating – 3.5/5

Tagline – “The time has come”

It was a long time coming but I’ve finally reached the end of the [Rec] series. The franchise did not start out on a good foot for me but the sequel picked it up and the third film was absolutely amazing. Now I prepare to watch the fourth and final film in the series which is another one I’ve been looking forward to. The first two films did not look interesting to me but I’ve always wanted to see the third and fourth film. After finally watching [Rec] 3: Genesis I couldn’t wait to throw in [Rec] 4: Apocalypse.

**Spoiler Alert**The film takes place after [Rec] 3 and Angela (Velasco) has been rescued from the apartment building. She is escorted out with a medical team who rush her to a cargo ship where they plan to run tests on her in the middle of the ocean. In true movie form something bad happens with an infected monkey gets out of its cage and infects the military personal and crew members. Now they must rush to find a cure before the infected kill them or one of the scientists triggers a kill switch on the ship that will kill them all. **Spoiler Alert**

I had such high expectations for [Rec] 4. The third one was so much fucking fun that I couldn’t wait to throw in the fourth film. Sadly, this film was not as fun as the third installment but it should still be watched. It was fun and just as brutal as the last film but was a bit dry for 40 minutes or so.

The acting in this one is great. We once again get a fantastic performance from Manuela Velasco who was the shining star of the first film. She traded in her panic screams for a final girl bravado that works. Her character is strong and resilient which Velasco delivering a solid performance. The supporting cast is just as entertaining. They all deliver stellar performances with some great characters.

The story for this one is more in line with the first two films but follows in [Rec] 3’s footsteps and breaks away from the found footage style. The movie is a bit of a slow burn for the first 40 minutes or so but once it picks up the actions never stops. The plot is a little iffy however. The movie expects the viewer to believe a lot of stuff that doesn’t add up but doesn’t ruin the film.

Finally, this one does not shy away from the on screen deaths. We get some fucking fun and brutal kills with some fantastic practical effects. We do get more visual effects than the last film that do stand out but I’ve seen a lot worse. Overall, [Rec] 4: Apocalypse is a fantastic installment in this Spanish horror franchise. I didn’t like it as much as the third film but it still deserves your attention. Check it out.

Special Features:

DISC ONE: [REC]
In Spanish With English Subtitles And English Dub
Audio Commentary With Writers/Directors Jaume Balagueró And Paco Plaza (In Castalian With English Subtitles)
The Making Of [REC] (40 Minutes)
Crew Interviews (46 Minutes)
Extended Scenes
Deleted Scenes
Behind The Scenes Footage (43 Minutes)
Teaser
Theatrical Trailers
TV Spots
Still Gallery

DISC TWO: [REC] 2
In Spanish With English Subtitles
Audio Commentary With Writers/Directors Jaume Balagueró And Paco Plaza (In Castalian With English Subtitles)
The Making of [REC] 2 – In An Affected World (118 Minutes)
Behind The Scenes
Deleted Scenes
Extended Scenes
A Walkthrough Of The Set
[REC] 2 On Tour
Sitges Film Festival Press Conference
Theatrical Trailers
TV Spots
Still Gallery

DISC THREE: [REC] 3: GENESIS
In Spanish With English Subtitles
[REC] 3: Genesis – Preparing A Bloody Wedding (117 Minutes)
The Making Of [REC] 3
Deleted Scenes
Outtakes
Theatrical Trailers
TV Spots
Still Gallery

DISC FOUR: [REC] 4: APOCALYPSE
In Spanish With English Subtitles
The Making Of [REC] 4: APOCALYPSE
Theatrical Trailers TV Spot
Still Gallery

Written by Blacktooth

(Staff Writer) Lover of all things horror and metal. Also likes boobs and booze.