Rec (2007)

[This review may contain spoilers]


Movie poster for ‘[Rec]” (2007).

Julia Alvarado, Freelance Reporter

In November 2007, directors Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza released the Spanish found-footage horror film, “Rec”. “Rec” was met with immediate critical acclaim and commercial success and is now considered one of the best films in both the found footage and the horror genres, spawning three sequels and an American remake released under the name “Quarantine” in 2008.

“Rec” follows reporter Angela Vidal, played by Manuela Velasco—an actual Spanish TV presenter who was cast so the role could be played as naturally as possible, and who later won the Goya Award for Best New Actress for her performance—as she follows a local fire department on a routine call to an apartment complex that goes horribly wrong when a dangerous virus spreads through the building and leaves its residents rabid, violent, and cut off from the rest of the world.

The film is a found-footage gem, avoiding common critiques of the genre with its fast pace and talented cast and crew. It gives audiences a likable protagonist to get attached to and though it starts a little slow, it doesn’t stop once it’s gotten started, treating viewers to constant scares and eventually a truly terrifying final boss played by the horror legend Javier Botet—an actor with Marfan syndrome who has taken advantage of his unique appearance to play all sorts of horror monsters, notably The Crooked Man in The Conjuring series, and the titular character in “Slender Man” (2018).

Another key cast member is Angela’s cameraman, Pablo, who is played by the film’s actual director of photography, Pablo Rosso, who spends the entire movie not only acting from behind the camera, but also running around to film everything. Aside from Angela’s main firefighting companions, Manu and Álex (played by Ferran Terraza and David Vert, respectively), most of the firefighters are played by non-actors, who actually worked at the real-life fire station in which the first chunk of the movie takes place in, making their on-screen awkwardness feel incredibly real. The residents of the apartment building were also chosen in a somewhat untraditional manner, cast on their ability to improvise. Directors Balagueró and Plaza didn’t give anybody a completed script, so nobody knew exactly what was going to happen, encouraging the cast to react naturally to everything happening around them. It makes for incredibly effective performances from everyone.

The fim is exceptionally good, and it’s quality is as attributable to the great writing as it is the quality cast and crew. It’s an instantly memorable movie, standing out in the genre of found footage with its excellent quality, and deserves a very solid 5/5 paws.