Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Push the button

[REC] is the refreshing type of horror movie. It's not using some tired concept that's been splashed across the screen a thousand times.
It's like The Blair Witch Project and The Andromeda Strain had a beautiful Spanish baby.

This film builds suspense like a good horror movie should. Jumps are around each corner, but well spaced. Exit options are slowly eliminated one by one, and people are dying off one by one. Desperation and claustrophobia seep in. And to quote dead men of Dunharrow: "The way is shut..."

A reporter and her camera man are accompanying a fire department crew on a call to document what a normal shift is like for them. This shift ends up being as far away from normal as possible.

The monster in this film is so incredibly disturbing. I could hardly stand to watch it. So utterly horrifying.

Costumes, lighting, set design and direction are all really coherent. This look slike a real place full of real people. The acting is good, not stellar, but it's a horror film. Manuela Velasco, who plays Angela the reporter, is very very good. She's not a scream queen, girlfriend has chops. And I usually can't stand women in horror films.

There is, of course, a virtual shot-for-shot remake of this movie called Quarantine that was made by the Hollywood machine. I can never understand why they do that. It's either because they're too cheap to release the foreign language original in US theaters, or they think that the US public won't go see a film with subtitles. Even though we all know it's not true.
Yet time and time again, the Americanized version gets it all wrong. The acting is terrible, the plot is dumbed-down and bogged down with needles explanations. Hollywood's never seen a great horror film they felt they couldn't make more mainstream. And they fail to see that it's the very things that make the movie not mainstream are what make it great. People don't want the same old horror movie over and over again. We want something different, something fresh, something that's not just scary, but horrifying.
[REC] is exactly that.

My next review will be Forrest Gump. Should I be brutally honest or forgivingly critical?

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