Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Jaume Balagueró
|Produced by||Julio Fernández|
|Written by||Jaume Balagueró
Luis A. Berdejo
|Edited by||David Gallart|
|Distributed by||Filmax International|
|Running time||78 minutes|
REC (stylized as [REC]) is a 2007 Spanish horror film, co-written and directed by Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza. The film was shot in Barcelona, Spain and the title is an abbreviation of the word "record", as it appears on a video camera.
Balaguero and Plaza previously directed the 2002 documentary OT: la película. REC was filmed as a found footage film and used a "shaky camera" technique. The film was remade in the US as the 2008 film Quarantine.
As the first installment of the REC series, it was followed by two sequels; REC 2 in 2009 and REC 3: Genesis in 2012, while the upcoming 2014 film REC 4: Apocalypse is the planned end of the franchise. Spanish company Filmax International is responsible for the production of the REC franchise and will also release the fourth and final installment.
REC follows a television reporter, Ángela Vidal (Manuela Velasco), and her cameraman, Pablo, who cover the night shift in one of Barcelona's local fire stations for the fictional documentary television series While You're Sleeping. While they are recording, the firehouse receives a call about an old woman who is trapped in her apartment. When they arrive, Ángela and Pablo film the police breaking down the door. As they approach the old woman, becomes extraordinarily aggressive, making incoherent and grudging noises. When one police officer tries to approach her, she attacks him, pins him to the ground and bites his ear and parts of his cheek off, forcing the others to restrain her.
Meanwhile, the terrified residents gather in the entrance hall and look on as the police and military seal off the building. A firefighter who remained in the old woman's apartment is bitten and plummets through the stairwell to the lobby floor. The camera crew, remaining firefighter Manu and the second policeman go up again and are attacked forcing the officer to shoot the old woman. The camera crew remains trapped inside the building with the residents and continue recording in spite of the policeman's pressure to stop recording the event. Ángela interviews a little girl named Jennifer who lives in the building. Jennifer is ill with what her mother claims is tonsillitis. She says her dog, Max, is at the veterinarian because he appeared to be sick as well, and her father is out to buy a medicine.
After a couple of minutes, a health inspector wearing a hazmat suit arrives and attempts to treat the injured, who are locked inside the building textile shop with the apartment landlord, Miguel, and the remaining police officer. The health inspector enters inside and they shut the door, forcing Pablo to climb on a table and film through one of the windows. While treating them, the two suddenly become violent and they bit Miguel, forcing the health inspector, the officer and Manu to leave the room, with the inspector locking down the door. With the officer demanding answers, the health inspector explains that the time frame in which the disease takes effect varies by blood type. The health inspector also reveals that sometime during the previous day, a dog with the illness was taken to the veterinarian; the dog became violent and attacked and killed other pets at the clinic. The dog was euthanized, and was traced back to the apartment building.
As they return back to the main hall, they question the other residents about the dog, and Ángela suddenly realizes that the dog, Max, belongs to Jennifer, hearing that Jennifer spoke about him earlier. The other residents surround the mother and Jennifer and question them about the dog, and the mother claims that Jennifer is only a bit sick. Suddenly, Jennifer looks at her and vomits all over her face, jumps out of her arms and proceeds to let out a horrible scream as her eyes turn black, showing that she is infected, and she runs upstairs to her apartment.
The policeman handcuffs the mother on the stairs and proceeds upstairs with the firefighter Manu. Pablo follows them. They find Jennifer, and the officer tries to calmly subdue her with a syringe that the inspector gave him, but she bites him. Manu and Pablo run outside where they find that the infected are trying to burst in the hallway through the textile shop. They are forced to leave the handcuffed woman, since the now-infected officer has the keys, and they run upstairs into an apartment, where the inspector tells the distraught residents that this unknown but virulent disease is infecting people, causing them to turn into bloodthirsty savages. More and more people in the building become infected, and Ángela, Manu and Pablo are forced to fight them off. Eventually they learn that there is a key to a door in the apartment building workshop, which leads to an exit via the sewer system. However, the key is located on the fifth floor in the manager's apartment.
After finding the key, Ángela and Pablo appear to be the only human survivors, everyone else being dead or infected. Rather than making their way to the workshop, they are forced upstairs to the penthouse by the remaining infected. They then search the penthouse and discover that its owner was an agent of the Vatican who was charged with researching and isolating a suspected virus believed to be the biological cause of demonic possession, which was later confirmed to exist in a young girl named Tristana Medeiros who was raped by a group of priests. The agent kidnapped and brought the girl to the penthouse to conduct his research and possibly cure her; during this time the possession managed to mutate and become contagious.
The agent, having no other options decided to seal her off, presumably to let her die of starvation and dehydration. A door to the attic opens and Pablo uses his camera to look inside. An infected boy jumps at the camera and breaks its light. Pablo turns on the night vision to see in the dark and discovers the sealed door referred to earlier by the agent on an audio tape. The agent abandoned his efforts to cure the girl after failing to engineer a vaccine. Tristana, now a horribly emaciated figure, begins searching the penthouse, holding a hammer. Ángela and Pablo try to escape, but Pablo trips and is viciously attacked with the hammer by Tristana, causing him to drop the camera. Ángela picks it up and runs, only to fall and drop the camera as well. She searches for it in the dark but is unable to find it. The camera continues to record as the cries and screams of the possessed Tristana are heard on the tape recorder, and Ángela is dragged into the darkness, screaming.
- Manuela Velasco - Ángela Vidal
- Ferrán Terraza - Manu
- Jorge-Yaman Serrano - Young policeman
- Pablo Rosso - Pablo
- David Vert - Álex
- Vicente Gil - Adult policemen
- Martha Carbonell - Mrs. Izquierdo
- Carlos Vicente - Guillem Marimón
- María Teresa Ortega - Grandmother
- Manuel Bronchud - Grandfather
- Akemi Goto - Japanese woman
- Chen Min Kao - Chinese man
- María Lanau - Mari Carmen, Jennifer's mother
- Claudia Silva - Jennifer
- Carlos Lasarte - César
- Javier Botet - Tristana Medeiros
- Ben Temple - Doctor
- Ana Velasquez - Colombian girl
- Daniel Trinh - Chinese children
- Marita Borrego - Operadoras Cuartel Bomberos
- Jana Prats - Operadoras Cuartel Bomberos (as Ana Prats)
- Víctor Massagué - Child in attic
- Javier Coromina - Voice of Pablo
The film premiered in August 2007 at the 64th Venice International Film Festival, out of competition, in the opening and closing films sessions. It was also shown in October 2007 at the Sitges Film Festival and the Málaga International Week of Fantastic Cinema in November 2007, before going on general release in Spain later that month.
The film was also shown in February 2008 at the Glasgow Film Festival and the co-directors participated in a corresponding interview in which they revealed their influences during the creation of the cinema work: "Our main reference was TV; was not other films, or a tradition of previous features. I think the main influence for us was TV. What we wanted was to build a classic horror story, but, ahh, telling it in the way of a TV show." REC was then released in the United Kingdom in April 2008 and a North American DVD release occurred in 2009.
REC received widespread acclaim from most critics. As of July 30, 2012, the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported that, based on 23 reviews, the film has a nearly universal 96% approval rating.
Reviewing the film for the BBC, Jamie Russell called it "A runaway rollercoaster of a fright flick", praising the "faux-docu handheld style", and the sense of claustrophobia and confusion, claiming that "[Rec] will definitely jangle the nerves"; however, Russell criticised the lack of substance and a "one-dimensional" supporting cast. Bloody Disgusting awarded the film four-and-a-half stars out of five, with the reviewer writing, "[REC] has it all and is probably one of the best Spanish horror films in recent memory." Bloody Disgusting later ranked the film eleventh in their list of the 'Top 20 Horror Films of the Decade', with the article stating: "Out of all the “shaky-cam” films... this one is arguably the best." In the early 2010s, Time Out conducted a poll with several authors, directors, actors and critics who have worked within the horror genre to vote for their top horror films. Rec placed at number 54 on their top 100 list.
- Reaper Award 2009
- Won: Best Indie/Foreign production
- 2008 Goya Awards (22nd edition)
- Fantasporto 2008
- Fantastic'Arts 2008
- Amsterdam Fantastic Film Festival 2008
- Won: Silver Scream Award
- Cinema Writers Circle Awards, Spain 2008
- Nominated: CEC Award Best Editing, CEC Award Best New Artist
- European Film Awards 2008
- Nominated: Audience Award Best Film
- Fant-Asia Film Festival 2008
- 2nd place: Best European/North - South American Film Best Film, Fantasia Ground-Breaker Award Best Film
- Festival de Cine de Sitges 2007
The sequel REC 2 premiered in September 2009 at the 66th Venice International Film Festival, and was commercially released in Spain in October of the same year. The second installment portrays the events that immediately follow the end of the first film.
Released in the US in October 2008, Quarantine is an American remake of the film, starring Jennifer Carpenter, that generally follows a similar storyline with several major differences which include changing the demonic possession into mutated rabies.
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