Plot: Angela (Manuela Velasco) is the host of While You’re Asleep, a show that takes viewers inside various overnight situations, so that the audience can appreciate the work that happens in those hours. Her latest assignment takes to a fire department, which is likely one of the busier nighttime professions, so she and her cameraman expect to get some dynamic coverage. A tour of the firehouse starts off the visit, but in no time a call comes in and the squad is dispatched, with Angela’s crew in tow. The call is to look into some screams heard from inside an apartment, with concerns that someone is trapped and the firemen can engineer an escape. Not the most exciting call to be sent out on, but it will allow Angela to capture some footage in the field. But when strange things begin to happen and the group finds themselves sealed inside the apartment complex, can Angela uncover the truth about what is going on?
Entertainment Value: Rec is a lean, tight found footage horror movie that spawned several sequels, not to mention a remake with a sequel of its own. While Quarantine isn’t the worst remake out there, it is a bloated, uneven ride, whereas Rec is efficient and relentless. The movie still treads in the usual found footage tropes, but it is so kinetic and keeps you hooked in from the start, so it has little of the slow, filler stretches that plague the genre. In other words, Rec isn’t twenty minutes of lame banter followed by a jump scare, then rinse and repeat, it moves at a fierce pace and makes excellent use of the short duration, so it avoids a lot of the common stumbling blocks that are seen in the found footage realm. But this is found footage through and through, so if you can’t stand shaky cam and jump scares, you likely won’t be won over. I think it is a fun movie overall and I appreciate how lean the entire experience is, as it ensures Rec stands out from the crowd and rises above the usual found footage dumping grounds. So even if you’re a big fan of the genre, Rec provides a much more efficient, effective thrill ride than most found footage, so don’t sleep on this one.
One scene involves some uh, non traditional bare breasts, but otherwise, no nakedness and it is so dark, you can barely see those. The movie has no time for sleaze, as these folks are in a constant battle for survival and getting naked seems low on the priority list. Given the movie’s tone and pace, the lack of skin is never an issue in the least. Rec does provide a little more violence and bloodshed than most found footage, so it is nice to see some chaos unfold on screen, for a change. This includes bite wounds, a nice corpse drop, blunt object bashing, general slashing and attacking, as well as people and the location soaked in the red stuff. The gore is a little hard to see, given the dark visual atmosphere, but there’s some solid bloodletting on showcase. Some of the violence still takes place out of our view, of course, but much less than normal. The dialogue is sparse and well written, but doesn’t have a crucial part in the movie, as this is not character driven material. So the low score doesn’t mean the writing is bad, just not wild or overly memorable. I can’t score many crazy points either, as while Rec is a terrific horror movie, it never goes over the top or veers into wackiness. But that is a big reason why it is such a good movie, so no complaints.
Overall Insanity: 1/10
The Disc: This Blu-ray release from Scream Factory looks quite good and given the movie’s found footage nature, Rec has a more polished look than most, so the added resolution is put to good use. A lot of scenes are cloaked in shadows and darkness, but contrast is excellent and detail is there when it should be. As for extras, we have an eighteen minute behind the scenes pieces, audio comments from directors Paco Plaza and Jaume Balaguero, additional behind the scenes footage, tv spots, cast & crew interviews, and two of the film’s trailers. Scream Factory released Rec as part of a four disc collection of the entire series, so you can grab the whole run in one fell swoop.