Theatrical release poster
|Produced by||Julio Fernández|
|Edited by||David Gallart|
|Distributed by||Filmax International|
|Box office||$29.5 million|
REC (stylized as [REC]) is a 2007 Spanish zombie 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 three sequels; REC 2 in 2009, REC 3: Genesis in 2012, and REC 4 in 2014 as the final installment in the franchise. Spanish company Filmax International is responsible for the production of the REC franchise and released all four installments.
Ángela Vidal (Manuela Velasco), and her cameraman, Pablo, are covering the night shift in one of Barcelona's local fire stations for the documentary television series While You're Sleeping. While they are recording, the firehouse receives a call about an old woman, Mrs. Izquierdo, who is trapped in her apartment and screaming. Ángela and Pablo accompany two of the firefighters, Álex and Manu, to the apartment building, where two police officers are waiting. As they approach the old woman, she becomes aggressive and attacks one of the officers, biting his neck.
As they carry the injured officer downstairs, they find the building's residents have gathered in the lobby saying that the police and military have sealed off the building and trapped them inside. As people begin to panic, Álex, who remained upstairs with the old woman, gets thrown over the railings of the staircase and is left seriously injured. The old woman then kills a Colombian girl, and as she is about to attack the camera crew, she is shot by the remaining officer, Sergio. Ángela and Pablo begin interviewing the residents including a little girl named Jennifer who lives in the building. Jennifer is ill with what her mother claims is tonsillitis, and says her dog, Max, is at the vet because he is sick as well.
A health inspector wearing a hazmat suit arrives and attempts to treat the injured, who suddenly become aggressive, and start biting who they can. The rest are forced to flee, trapping an intern, Guillem, inside the building's textile warehouse with them. The health inspector explains that they are infected with a virus similar to rabies, and the time in which the disease takes effect varies by blood type. Some time ago, a dog with the virus was taken to a local vet; the dog became violent and attacked several other pets at the clinic. The dog was euthanized, and traced back to the apartment building, causing Ángela to realize it's Jennifer's dog. The other residents confront Jennifer and her mother, Mari, when Jennifer suddenly bites her mother's face, and runs upstairs screaming.
Sergio handcuffs Mari to the stairs and proceeds upstairs with Manu and Pablo. They find Jennifer but she bites Sergio, who tells the others to leave him as he is now infected. Manu and Pablo run outside where they find the remaining residents running upstairs because the infected are trying to break into the main hallway through the textile warehouse. They are forced to leave the handcuffed Mari to be attacked, and run into an empty apartment along with Ángela, a resident called César, and the health inspector, who has been bitten. César mentions that there might be another way out through the basement, where there is a large drain that is connected to the sewers, but says the keys are in Guillem's apartment. The infected health inspector then bites César, forcing Ángela, Manu and Pablo to escape and fight their way up to Guillem's apartment, located on the fifth floor.
After finding the key, Ángela and Pablo leave the apartment only to find Manu now infected as well. He and the rest of the residents chase the pair upstairs, where they are forced to take refuge in the penthouse. They discover a tape recorder which explains that its owner was an agent of the Vatican who was charged with researching and isolating an enzyme 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 enzyme mutated and became viral. The agent, having no other options, decided to seal her off, presumably to let her die of starvation.
Pablo reaches up with his camera to record around inside the attic. An infected boy swipes at the camera and breaks its light. Pablo turns on the night vision and discovers the sealed door. Tristana, now a blind and horribly emaciated figure, emerges and begins searching the penthouse, holding a hammer. Ángela and Pablo try to escape, but Pablo is viciously attacked and killed by Tristana, and causes him to drop the camera. Ángela then picks it up only to scream and run as Tristana is eating Pablo, and then to fall and drop the camera as well. She searches for it in the dark but is unable to find it, she also hears the screams of the young Tristana from the tape recorder. The camera continues to record as Ángela is dragged into the darkness, screaming.
- Manuela Velasco as Ángela Vidal
- Pablo Rosso as Pablo
- Ferrán Terraza as Manu
- David Vert as Álex
- Jorge-Yaman Serrano as Sergio
- Vicente Gil as Older Policemen
- Carlos Vicente as Guillem Marimón
- Carlos Lasarte as César
- María Lanau as Mari Carmen
- Claudia Silva as Jennifer
- Martha Carbonell as Mrs. Izquierdo
- Akemi Goto as Japanese Woman
- Chen Min Kao as Chinese Man
- María Teresa Ortega as Grandmother
- Manuel Bronchud as Grandfather
- Javier Botet as Tristana Medeiros
- Ben Temple as Doctor
- Ana Velasquez as Colombian Girl
- Daniel Trinh as Chinese Children
- Marita Borrego as Operadoras Cuartel Bomberos
- Jana Prats - Operadoras Cuartel Bomberos (as Ana Prats)
- Víctor Massagué as Child in Attic
- Javier Coromina as 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.
The film received critical acclaim. As of July 30, 2012, the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported that, based on 23 reviews, the film has a 96% approval rating. The site's consensus reads: "Plunging viewers into the nightmarish hellscape of an apartment complex under siege, [Rec] proves that found footage can still be used as an effective delivery mechanism for sparse, economic horror."
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. Actress Manuela Velasco's role of Ángela Vidal, returned in the sequels REC 2 and REC 4: Apocalypse.
REC 3: Génesis is the third installment of the series and was released in Spanish theaters on March 30, 2012. The conclusion of the franchise REC 4 was released in 2014. First being screened at the Toronto Film Festival and later in Spain at the Sitges film Festival 3 October before being released in cinemas 31 October.
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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