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Sunday, 31 May 2009

The Thin White Dude's Reviews - REC

Yep, coming up once again, it's another one of those shaky camerawork movies, this time exploited in the horror genre. Perhaps the most recurring trend this year besides the amount of good superhero movies, by this stage I should be getting pretty bored of seeing the same tricks played again. I have reviewed two movies this year which have used this technique, Cloverfield, which I absolutely love and this film is not quite up to this standard, but it is certainly better than the other film which used this technique, Redacted. Each of these movies took different directions, one a monster movie, the other a war proto-documentary. To imagine the kind of film and audience that REC is catering towards would be to imagine those who go out and see the gory slashers such as the Saw and Hostel movies, and considering I hate movies which use blood for the simple reason of a cheap pop, this movie certainly isn't doing too bad. Okay, it's just any other day for reporter Angela Vidal and her cameraman, filming their TV show behind the scenes with firemen on a routine call, only it isn't just any other day. You know that it isn't just any other day because once they reach the apartment building the majority of the film is set in, bad things start to happen. The film's best achievement, which is really the best thing that these concept films have going for them is the involving technique of shooting in this manner. Having the camera as the viewfinder really let's the audience get involved in the action. However, as always, it's how effectively you use this technique, especially in a genre such as this, in which it is vital to create tension. As far as I'm concerned, the acting in it is perfectly fine and dandy. It's nothing special, but each of the actors plays it real, down the line, and so without these, glorious Hollywood performances, they become more believable as human beings, in particular, Manuela Velasco, who is able to convincingly carry the film as it's main character. Also, there are a number of scenes in the film, particularly as the film begins to draw to it's close that are genuinely un-nerving, for example, the film's final revelation as the cause of the incident, which will completely change your perceptions of what has preceded. It is a subtext that I believe is thrown into the plot very well. Also pulled off greatly is the feeling of sustained tension and claustrophobia, even in the opening scenes, in which the film is only in an exterior location for a few seconds before they are whisked off into a fire engine. These feelings of isolation from society on the outside are consistent throughout the piece. However, and this is one of the things that bothers me about the film, is that it clearly in a number of scenes tries to throw in different subtexts behind the ongoing plot. Now, this would be fine in other films, because I love underlying subtext and all that arty stuff that no one really cares about, except for the fact that it does not come across well. For example, I believe that if George Romero was to make this film, because in many respects the isolated location and in actuality progression of story resembles Night Of The Living Dead, that the subtexts would have come across as more effective. Ironically, Romero made I new zombie movie, Diary of the Dead, which I intend to review, using this exact technique. Anyway, the point is, is that whenever the film-makers try to hint at this subtext, it comes across as rather awkward and out of place. At least they made a stab at it. Also, as mentioned, it does resemble Night Of The Living Dead in plot progression, and thus it must be pointed out that while it is filmed using a different technique and is very tense and well made, that it is nonetheless a cliché ridden film which has predictabilities lying around many of it's corners. To finalise my argument's against the film, it has a rather disjointed script, which effectively feeds my argument about predictability, as in everyone in the movie says what you would expect them to, and there is nothing revolutionary happening onscreen here. But hey, I'm going to complain on and on about this film. I found it very enjoyable to watch and I am sure that I would find it enjoyable to watch at least one more time. Yes, like I mentioned, it's clichéd and predictable, but as far as a nuts-and-bolts horror film goes, it's pretty good. It pulls all the tricks you want from a good horror movie, and you might even be able to get past it's predictability if you are willing to fully embrace the shaky cam technique which has improved so many films this year (yes, even the great Cloverfield). It is full of thrills, spills, grills (scratch the last one, just wanted to use alliteration), and I would urge people to watch it before they watch the English language re-make, Quarantine, because everyone with a brain knows fine rightly that Hollywood ends up spoiling unique horror movie concepts completely. A tense, enjoyable horror film which could be just up your back alley (no innuendo intended).

The Thin White Dude's Prognosis - 6.4/10

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