A Guy Named Goo (aguynamedgoo) wrote,
A Guy Named Goo

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And for something totally different...

Here, have something to take my mind off of shit for a while: a completely arbitrary movie review! I happened upon this movie last night while looking for something totally different, but it seemed like it could be interesting. It's a horror movie that promised to combine aspects of Night of the Living Dead, 28 Days Later, and Blair Witch into a big, puke-inducing mindfuck. Was it all that and more? Read on, gentle viewers...

Warning: May be spoilers to a movie you have never even heard of, let alone planned on seeing.

First thing to note is that [REC] is entirely in Spanish, and I didn't have the benefit of subtitles, so I am going basically on context here. So far I have found no plans for a US release, although it was apparently shown at a recent film festival in America (still without subs), and the closest thing to a US release of it I can find is the guys who made next year's none-too-anticipated The Poughkeepsie Tapes are going to be making an American remake called Quarantine. So possible spoilers if you end up seeing a trailer for Quarantine a year or two from now and decide it looks interesting.

The story starts with Angela, a perky, adorable Spanish news reporter who is covering a story about the local fire department on a slow night and just to amp the "I'M THE INNOCENT ONE PLEASE EAT ME" factor, she also dons adorable pigtails. Her camera man, Pablo, is also along for the ride, but you never actually get to see him, just hear him. So it's a slow night, and Angela kills time by trying on the firefighters' outfits, eating dinner with them, pretending to slide down the pole (but never actually doing it, although I'm sure they'd have let her if she asked), and playing basketball, all while Pablo dutifully films.

While enjoying the pick-up game of basketball, the alarm goes off, and Angela and Pablo come along to answer the call which, according to the Wikipedia's one-paragraph synopsis the movie, was a call from an apartment building reporting an old woman screaming, and I guess police and firemen are dispatched in case it's a "help, I've fallen and I can't get up" thing.

Once there, they go into the old lady's apartment, but it's apparent something's very wrong, and not just the fact that she's just wearing a flimsy nightgown and we get a view of old lady cooch (ah, Europe) every time someone knocks her over in a panic: she's covered with blood, and attacks the first police officer that approaches her, taking a big bite out of his neck. Sensibly, the rest of the guys wrestle her off and get the hell out of dodge, carrying their fallen comrade along the way.

Upon getting the injured officer downstairs and radioing for back-up, they are informed that the house is on lock down to prevent the spread of an infection contained within the house. After that, things kinda get hazy and I really wish I had a translation, since there was an awful lot of exposition and dialogue in this movie and it would have been really great to figure out what it was about, especially since there appeared to be two victims laid out unconscious when they brought them to what I think is a laundry room and I have no idea where the second came from, someone went "splat" and I don't know where he came from or what happened, and Angela decided to conduct a lot of in-depth interviews that I didn't understand a word of, except for the little girl answering "Si" to every question.

Anywho, anyone who has seen any of the titles I mentioned in my intro probably knows where this is going: virus that you contract when you get bitten, you get turned into a zombie and attack everything in sight, yadda yadda. I'd say it's a spoiler to tell you the little girl caught the virus, but you can see that in the English version of the trailer. Angela spends a lot of time going between "shrieking harpy" and "crying out at the humanity of it all" as old lady is pumped full of lead and little girl gets her head beaten in with a sledgehammer (both of which got up and kept going like an undead Energizer bunny). At some point Angela puts her hair up in a bun and sheds her clothing down to her camisole, so now she's a slut and definitely as good as dead.

There's a lot of suspension of disbelief that needs to be employed, like Pablo's tireless efforts to keep filming even as he flees for his life, even thoughtfully turning on the night-vision when they have to keep things dark in the finale (maybe they mentioned at some point why he insists on continuing to film, but I wouldn't know), and Pablo always seeming to be right in the best spot for a perfect view of the action, even if everyone else is on the opposite side of the carnage so he should logically become zombie chow when he makes like a bunny and runs like hell with everyone else. Also, except for in one scene where everyone went into another locked room (plot device to keep zombies on one side and protagonists on the other) and he has to spy through an open window at the top of the wall, people seem to have no qualms with Pablo recording their private conversations that they pulled away from the rest of the group to have. He doesn't film steadily, admittedly, but the times he chooses to turn on the camera are somewhat...convenient. Also, at least once he rewinds and replays one of the more shocking scenes a few times until you're tired of the scenes.

Really, there's just a lot of Angela interviewing people or panicked talking until the last twenty minutes or so, when people start dropping like Spanish flies, and things don't even begin to become explained until the last ten minutes or so. From what I can tell of the reviews, this ending doesn't really make much sense to the rest of the plot, but it leads to a hell of a scary finale, anyway. And really, for all that I complain about how little time is spent on the action, there's really little time, period: the entire movie is only 70 minutes long. And of the "slow" 50 minutes, there were a good six or so fright scenes, so I guess in the time they had to work with, it all averages out. And like I said, the talky scenes wouldn't have been so boring to me if I understood them.

Do I think it's going to be a ground-breaking revelation in horror cinema, especially the quickly-growing-tired zombie genre? Odds are it isn't likely. But is it the worst use of 70 minutes in my life? Nah, that would be the first 60% of Hostel 2. I may give an update if I can find a subtitled version somewhere, but for now, I'd say this is a pretty average horror movie. Neat idea, somewhat hampered by my dumb decision to take French instead of Spanish in high school.

I'll leave you gentle souls with the English version of the trailer. Solstice Blessings!


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