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A television reporter and cameraman follow emergency workers into a dark apartment building and are quickly locked inside with something terrifying.
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As a fan of the found footage genre I was really excited about this release, I remember seeing the trailer and it just gripping my attention from the beginning. The whole ‘real time experience’ was especially something that got me intrigued, a real time found footage feature that would totally immerse you into what’s going on and it fully delivered on that promise.
Directors Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza do an absolutely amazing job at putting you at the forefront of what’s going on, you feel like you’re right there alongside the cast experiencing everything they are and if you really want a better experience then I recommend you watch it in total darkness with only your television on, it’s an old cliche I know but it really does work on this film.
The cast of the film are amazing, I think this is because I knew nobody in the film so no expectations were had which can be a real burden sometimes. Apparently our lead lady Manuela Velasco really is a TV presenter in her native Spain, this must of added a sense of realism for the Spanish audience who knew her. Also the effects tram gave this a 110% and it’s a shame that some of their work doesn’t get the recognition on this feature.
When this film was released I remember there being quite a bit of disappointment, not because it’s a bad film, no, the main problem I’d ear is “It looks good but it’s in Spanish”. I will never understand people who hate on foreign Horror and it’s a lame excuse to use, especially during a time when Foreign Horror was outdoing everyone else (sounds familiar doesn’t it?).
[Rec] is a great found footage Horror, no matter what language you speak, the fear is universal.
Miscellaneous facts about the film:
The actors were never given the script in its entirety so none of them knew of their character’s fates, sometimes not until the day they were actually filming their scenes. This meant that the actors were – more often than not – stressed, nervous and apprehensive on the day of filming, ideal qualities for the film itself.
Made and shot in real locations. No sets were built to make this movie.
When it came to casting, the directors deliberately chose actors who were not familiar to help make the piece more realistic, and also actors who were good at improvisation.
The building where the film was shot is the Cedimatexsa building, Rambla de Catalunya, 34 at the Eixample district in Barcelona. It was assaulted by a group of youngsters in 2007, after the film became a hit.
REC was one of the major inspirations for the first person survival – horror game Outlast (2013). The game explores lines between science and religion much like the REC series does with medical science, viruses and possession. Also the POV in the game was also inspired by the shaky found footage style used in REC.
The DVD for this film wasn’t released in the US until after its remake Quarantine (2008) had been out in theaters and the sequel [Rec] 2 (2009) had been confirmed.
Originally set to be released direct-to-video.
The directors originally toyed with the idea of having the TV camera crew shadow some policemen. They decided to go with firemen instead as they tend to be more popular and accepted by the general public, especially following 9/11.
Paco Plaza reportedly had Chinese neighbours that never closed their door. This always intrigued him.
(at around 10 mins) Jennifer can be seen holding a camera in the hall. According to the directors Claudia Silva was actually filming but her footage could not fit in the final cut of the film.
The working titles were “Bombers” (“Firemen” in Catalan), “Origen” (“Origin”) and “Duración: 70 Minutos” (“Lengh: 70 Minutes”).
This was released within six months of the similarly themed The Zombie Diaries (2006) and George A. Romero’s Diary of the Dead (2007).
Angela and Pablo’s show is reminiscent of the Spanish show 1 Equipo (2005), which has been remade as La liga (2005) (Argentine) and A Liga (2010) (Brazil).
Directors Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza made a deal prior to shooting in which if one of them pitched an idea and the other one didn’t like it, the idea would be tossed out without further explanation.
(at around 18 mins) While filming the scene where the young fireman falls from the stairs, not a single actor knew that was going to happen, so the reactions of the characters were the real reactions of the actors themselves.
The closing passages really were shot in complete darkness, using an infra-red camera. The actors had no idea what was taking place as they couldn’t see a thing.
Up until the release of the sequel [Rec] 2 (2009), Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza were unaware of the decorative sculpture on the top of the building depicting a woman being grabbed by a monstrous creature by her foot, which is strongly similar to the final scene of this film.
Want more Horror? Click on the links below:
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Raz’s Midnight Macabre Blog page (HERE)