The past few years have seen Spanish horror burst onto screens around the world thanks to some fairly high-profile Spanish directors making films in Hollywood, and Spanish films being remade for US audiences. [REC] was remade into Quarantine, though there is no news on whether Quarantine 2 will be made (I haven’t seen it, preferring my horror in its original packaging). While perhaps not quite as frightening as the original, [REC] 2 still had the audience jumping out of its seat fairly frequently.
Picking up a mere 15 minutes after the first film left off, a SWAT team goes into the quarantined apartment building with a health official to try and assess the situation. They make their way to the penthouse, the source of the outbreak. And there it turns out that the health official is really a priest, and that the contagion is the devil, and the devil is spreading.
Unlike the original, which used only one camera perspective, directors Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza smartly expand the number of cameras. Each member of the SWAT team has one, allowing for shifts in location, and a few times picture in picture (so you can see the zombies coming from all directions). And since there is less constant violence, it allows the viewer, and the characters to a certain extent, to step back and examine the situation. Whereas in the first film the viewer was in the place of the firemen and news crew, having no idea what was happening, now the audience can think (and often say out loud) ‘No, don’t go in there!’ in traditional horror film fashion. The use of several cameras is an added bonus, as the multiple perspectives allows for the idea of the spread of the virus/devil, and the likelihood of its escape. As well, the additional of the Priest is a great throwback to The Exorcist – and this priest is just as stubborn and self-sacrificing.
As stated, there are fewer frightening moments, but then ones that do come are all the more frightening from the build-up of tension. Throw in a group of stupid teenagers in the wrong place at the wrong time, a survivor from the first film, and some pretty frightening and blood-thirsty children, and [REC] 2 is a fine follow up to the original, and hopefully the second in a trilogy.