DVD Review: REC

1 Oct

Back in the late 80s my favorite thing to do was to go to the horror section of the video store and look at all the videos that mum would never in a million years let me watch (actually it turned out to be only three but when you’re eight years old, thats half your life away). Nightmare on Elm street, Jason, Fright Night, the Evil Dead. One video,Fright Night 2, was so scary that the cover had to be shaped like a coffin to warn children away, the evil printed on the video tape so potent that it had somehow morphed into the cover, rendering it oddly hideous and satanic.

I used to ogle over each one, taking my time with the screen shots, subconciously learning the copy by heart. How could you forget something as wonderfully stupid as the text that accompanied Bride of Chucky “Chucky gets Lucky”. Just trying to imagine how scary and exciting it would be to actually watch one of these things made my stomach turn.

Sadly my mum’s catholic upbringing made her suspicious of anything that didn’t feature a horse riding school or a band of 10 year olds capable of solving mysteries.

Fast forward 22 years and a copy of REC sits on my desk. ‘Experience Fear’ the cover promises. I’m not 8 years old anymore Mum. I’m a big boy and I can watch whatever I want! Sadly the experience of too many bad horror films, not to mention the recent spate of zombie films has well and truly sucked the marrow out of what was once a revered genre.

Although well received by many and scary in places, REC did nothing to reignite my passion for the horror film. A team of TV reporters follow a squad of fireman on “just another mundane night shift”. The footage is completely live and unedited as a routine call brings them to an apartment building where something evil is a brewin’. That something evil is actually a zombie virus and they spend the next 90 minutes running around, turning the camera on and off like some spanish episode of scooby doo.

I started to wonder why it was that not one of the victims in REC acted like they had ever seen a Zombie film before. You would think somebody, sometime would say, “hang on I live in the world of Popular Culture, I’m familiar with the work of George Romero, listen to me guys, it works like this” Alarm bells really should be ringing but I found the general level of Zombie ignorance staggering.

If Blair Witch Project had never been made then this would be innovative and interesting but that’s like saying I invented the internet. What’s more annoying is that the violence starts too early and any chance of suspense is lost; like someone confessing their love to you on a first date, REC leaves you with nowhere to go.

With a sequel already made due and several spin offs in the works, it seems that as long as there are 8 year olds and hydroponic weed at affordable prices the REC brand will have a solid fan base.

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