[Rec] (Spanish)

If you look through the “What I’ve Watched” tab at the top, you’ll notice something: a distinct lack of horror films. There are two reasons for this. First, I don’t like horror films. I don’t really find the pleasure/entertainment in having something jump out at me, but to each his/her own. Second, and as a result of the first, I don’t really know how to review horror films for their quality. That being said, [Rec] is just a pretty good movie all-around.


A reporter, Angela (Manuela Velasco), and her cameraman, Pablo (Pablo Rosso), are doing a report on the daily life and work of firemen in Barcelona. When they finally get called to an apartment emergency, things quickly begin to escalate as the authorities outside the apartment begin to quarantine the building. No one inside knows what is going on, but they do know the death toll is rising…along with the undead.

Filmed entirely from Pablo’s perspective behind the camera, Rec focuses on realistic reactions to a confusing and life-threatening situation. At just over seventy minutes, Rec moves very slowly and very quickly at the same time. The build-up takes a majority of the time as our heroes discover the truth behind their imprisonment, but once they realize what is going on, the sh*t hits the fan.

In a case of “too much of a good thing”, the journalist in Angela keeps the film in the state of an uninterrupted news story. At first this is well done as she conducts interviews within the building and keeps prying for more information, but after a while you begin to wonder where the line between getting a ratings-drawing story ends and fighting for your own survival begins. Thankfully, Angela does take that vital turn, but it’s in the final fifteen or so minutes when the Rec earns its horror credentials and gets quite intense..

The appeal for Rec clearly derives from its raw nature. All of the actors turn in very genuine performances almost as if the director forgot to tell them the plot of the story. The fact that I would not be surprised to learn that the director gave the plot to certain people as the film was shot is a good sign. No one had the air of someone playing a role and the release of information is done in such a way that we are left guessing just as much as the characters. They gave off the feeling of real people initially fighting for their rights, then their lives.

While Rec is somewhat slow and takes a while to really get going before it abruptly ends, the crew clearly did everything they could with the just-under two million euro budget. If you can handle shaky camerawork—I think more so than any other film, it makes sense here—then Rec will be a good one for you to watch. It’s always fun to see the perspectives of other countries and Rec provides a good insight into the Spanish horror genre.

  1. I was actually disappointed with this film. It didn’t seem to add anything new to the “found footage” genre of films. The second film is much better and adds a new element and a different style.

    • I was confused on how I felt for a good portion of the beginning but once the film ended I realized for what its goals were, it was well made. I thought it was interesting how in the beginning it seemed like behind the scenes extras.

      I’ve heard mixed things about the second film so I haven’t decided if I’m going to watch it yet. Thanks for reading/commenting!

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