Bigger, crazier and bloodier- so goes the formula for most horror sequels and [REC]2 is one of those exceptions that proves the rule. Though most sequels do choose to crank things up to eleven they usually lose the magic of the original by going too off the rails and [REC]2 does threaten to derail at times. The events in the doomed apartment complex are considerably more chaotic this time around and stripped of the mystery and novelty of the original the proceedings carry a little less weight this time around. [REC]2 though is still quite terrifying at times and still delivers a pulse pounding thrill ride that is just as much “fun” to watch as the original.
[REC]2 picks up immediately following the events of the first film (the last shot of the original opens the sequel). The establishing shots show a small group of SWAT members testing cameras that are strapped to their helmets and arriving at the apartment complex. The team is given their orders and are accompanied by another man identifying himself as being from the Ministry of Health. Once inside the apartment they realize they are in way over their heads with the infected jumping out from every corner and their mission may not have been what they expected as they struggle to find a way out of the building alive.
One aspect that made [REC]2 different from the original thus adding to its watchability is the ability for the main cameraman to tap into each camera on the other member’s helmets which then makes what they are seeing become what we see. What this adds to the movie is that we are always in the action, always seeing some kind of mayhem happening on screen. The nonstop barrage of action and horror starts to become a detriment until we get a breather as we are fed into camera footage of a group of kids that snuck into the complex at some point before the two stories intersect and we go back into the regular timeline. The breather is brief but it does help break up the insanity, thus making the film much more bearable.
[REC]2 also takes it upon itself to delve much farther into what exactly is happening in this apartment complex- one might say giving away almost too much. So the mystery or questions you have from [REC] are relieved, but I feel like I’d have enjoyed the sequel more if it hadn’t given so many answers or given ideas that put the answers from before into question. There is a twist though at the end that somewhat redeems the film.
The sequel also does more things right by clocking in under an hour and a half- so while the chokehold the directors latch on with right at the beginning is mercifully let down a bit in the middle and then reinforced leading up to the end but it moves quite fast. Some of the best moments come as the SWAT team is searching the apartment and you’re just waiting for something to pop out and when it doesn’t the sense of dread just builds to an unbearable level- but when the mayhem starts it rarely ever ends.
The violence and gore is cranked up quite a bit here as well as the infected people attack as brutally as ever and the sound just adds to the chaos as you feel every bump, every gunshot and ever fist finding flesh or any object. At times when the infected people attack the film seems sped up in order to exaggerate the speed of the people that are infected, but at times it felt a little off-putting. The camera work looked much cleaner this time around until the camera gets knocked out on the floor or shaken a lot then the effect does get a little nauseating.
As sequels go [REC]2 is not as fresh and well done as its predecessor, but it is still just as watchable and tense. The amped up violence and chaos makes for some pretty terrifying sequences and an extremely tense setting- it’s just that there’s a bit too much explanation which bleeds some of the magic from the concept. For what it’s worth I was completely glued to the screen from beginning to end and have no hesitation in saying that if you loved [REC] you will still get a kick out of [REC]2.