02 January 2015

The [REC] Franchise (1, 2, 3 & 4) + QUARANTINE 1 & 2

[REC]4: APOCALYPSE

Original Title:
[REC]4: Apocalipsis

Spain, 2014
Director: Jaume Balagueró

5/10








Hell, "[REC]4: Apocalypse" - what a title! Doesn't it sound like we finally get to see how the virus gets out of control and turns the whole of Spain into zombie country? Unfortunately, the title is completely misleading. The movie is a direct sequel to the second part with lots of nods and references to the first and the third part, but instead of finally taking it out to the streets and bringing on the apocalypse, the majority of the fourquel takes place on an oil tanker where doctors and scientist try to solve the mystery behind the virus - which obviously
doesn't work.


It's not good, not bad, just very, very mediocre, very lackluster. It's plodding along at a rather sedate pace, at times quite fast and entertaining, at times just slow and tiring. Compared to Balagueró's non-[REC]-films like "Sleep Tight" or "Fragile: A Ghost Story", it's way too lengthy and surprisingly rather tension-less. Compared to the previous [REC] films, it doesn't offer anything fresh or unexpected. Just a couple of sympathetic but forgettable characters that get killed off by, or turned into infected motherfuckers.

The ship setting looks nice, but Balagueró makes no good use of it, which leads to yet another visually disappointing at-sea flick à la "Virus (1999)" or "Ghost Ship". Also, I had the feeling as if Balagueró was bored during directing, as if he didn't want to make this movie, although he admittably made the best out of the low budget and accomplished to make the movie look more expensive.


Camera work and cinematography are solid, though I often wondered how it would have looked/worked if done with shaky cam. The cast is competent and everyone gives a splendid performance, most notably Héctor Colomé, Paco Manzanedo and [REC]-poster-girl Manuela Velasco. Gore effects and makeup effects look once again marvellous, some neat CGI, good editing. The climax isn't as badass expected and the ending is a lame and slightly stupid non-conclusion.

All in all, an okay but quickly forgotten sequel. "[REC]4" bores.




[REC]³: GENESIS

Spain, 2012
Director: Paco Plaza

8/10











After the success of the first two parts, Spanish production company Filmax convinced Balagueró and Plaza to do two(!) more sequels, though this time the two-time team decided to split directing responsibilities, with Plaza doing the third one, Balagueró doing the fourth one.

Contrary to the original press release in 2010, "[REC]³: GENESIS" wasn't the expected return to the origin of the original infection, but more of parallel semi-side-quel that takes place before, during and after its predecessors at a young couple's wedding miles away from the original location

Fans of the first two movies were shocked about how different this threequel turned out - but, for whatever reason, I loved the hell out of it. IMO "[REC]³: GENESIS" is a goofy piece of fresh air to the franchise, a hilarious blast of a movie, an over-the-top gorefest more in the vein of early Peter Jackson and/or Sam Raimi films like "Braindead" or "The Evil Dead".


The first half was made in typical [REC]-ian found-footage-style with lots of shaky cam and shit, but mostly in broad daylight. Then after the first half, the film surprisingly switches to a normal camera style, taking place at the wedding party at night. Both halves are tense, entertaining, action-packed and work just perfectly, especially the second one, which clearly shows that the [REC]-franchise isn't limited to shaky-cam.

As mentioned above, the movie is hilarious... ridiculously hilarious! It's totally packed with super-funny characters (the Sponge Bob guy, some goofy guy from Filmax productions, the vomiting uncle, the Royalties-guy), hysterically funny scenes (the 2 guys in knight's amour, the humping couple, lots and lots of over-the-top love stuff) and loads of really insane gore (heads split in half, death by hand blender, cut off extremities, chainsaw massacre...).


The acting is excellent, especially the performance by uber-gorgeous Leticia Dolera as badass chainsaw bride. Camera work and cinematography are fantastic, the settings all look beautiful and the soundtrack is fun (schmaltzy love songs, a Spanish dance version of "Eloise"...)

If you like your cinematic virus outbreaks campy and gory, this is definitely your movie. "[REC]3" kicks ass!

Wiki ~ Imdb
(revised and overworked version of the review I wrote in May 2012 at the /Slashing Europe Mini-Festival)



[REC]2

Alternate Title:
REC 2: Fear Revisited

Spain, 2009
Directors: Jaume Balaguero
& Paco Plaza

4/10







As much as I wanted to love it... I couldn't. "[REC]²" is a rushed and completely unnecessary sequel that lacks basically everything that made the first part so great. I appreciate the fact that Balagueró and Plaza wanted to create something new, something different, but... *sigh* aside from the fact that it's more of a side-quel, tries to be a bit "Aliens"-ish and replaces science with religion, it's basically the same movie - and all the new stuff adds nothing but frustration and disappointment to it.


There's not much tension or suspense, character development is non-existent, nearly all of the scares are predictable as hell, most of the infected-attack scenes are either lame, boring or too overdone, and there are way too many scenes that are just badly ripped off of the first part (people falling down, cameras falling down, more night vision etc. etc.).

Worst of all: the whole new plot that explains that the infected are actually all possessed by some Pazuzu-like demonic force (the fuck?), resulting into sudden priest appearances, ridiculous exorcism-scenes and other shenanigans. No, this all didn't work for me all. Yes, I know, this plot was already teased in its predecessor, but I never thought they would focus on this religion-rubbish so goddamn hard. Also: I hated the priest (terrible actor, highly annoying character) and thought that the climax was just one huge letdown.


Okay, the opening sequence is awesome, there's some great action in the second half /Fireworks!), loads of terrific gore, more fantastic camera work and a superb cameo by Manuela Velasco. Nevertheless, "[REC]²" is a huge letdown. I prefer "Quarantine 2: Terminal" over this, mainly because for me, it works much, much better as a sequel to "[REC]" (see below).

"[REC]²" fucking sucks.

Wiki ~ Imdb
(revised and overworked version of the review I first wrote in April 2012)



[REC]

Spain, 2007
Directors: Jaume Balagueró
& Paco Plaza

10/10










The very first directorial team-up between the Spanish filmmakers Jaume Balagueró ("Darkness") and Paco Plaza ("Romasanta") turned out to be one of the greatest and most impressive Spanish horror films of all time, as well as one of the scariest found-footage flicks ever made, following a TV reporter a camera man and a team of firefighters who get a call from an apartment building a about a panicking old woman. When they arrive, all hell breaks loose because the old woman seem to be infected with a virus that turns humans into crazed, raging beasts...


By taking a unique view on the classic and well-known virus-outbreak subgenre, Balagueró and Plaza created an absolutely mindblowing shock-masterpiece packed with enormous amounts of breathtaking suspense, fast-paced action, immensely effective creepiness and heart attack-causing jump scares, all fabulously and flawlessly written, directed, developed, featuring lots of sympathetic and believable characters, excellent actors (most notably Manuela Velasco and Maria Lanau), amazing gore and stunning-looking zombie make-up.

The first 10 minutes at the fire station are pretty calm, but the moment we arrive at the apartment building, the movie takes a massive turn and transforms into a vicious ride of pure fucking horror, delivering the wildest, loudest and most brutal 50 minutes in horror history, followed by the appalling 20-minute finale in the attic incl. super-spooky night vision and the horrific-looking Medeiros-girl, one of the scariest movie creatures in a long time.


I'll never forget the first time I've seen the scene where the fireman falls down from one of the upper floor to the ground, a scene so unexpected, so sudden, so real, so shocking, I jumped out of my seat, feeling as if my heart skipped a beat. While filming this scene, none of the actors knew that was going to happen, so the reactions of the characters were the real reactions of the actors themselves. Insane, but it worked!

"[REC]" fucking rocks!

Wiki ~ Imdb
(revised and overworked version of the review I first wrote in April 2012)



QUARANTINE

German Title:
Quarantäne

USA, 2008
Director: John Erick Dowdle

2,5/10








 Of all the pointless and redundant
Hollywood-rehashes-a-non-American-horrorfilm-remakes, this is probably the weakest and most unnecessary one. A quickly made almost-shot-for-shot copy of "[REC]" that is not creepy, not scary, not frightening. It's just lame and boring. John Erick Dowdle is basically a quite good horror director ("The Poughkeepsie Tapes", "Devil"), but "Quarantine" didn't work at all, at least for me, because... well, this movie already exists.



I liked that they changed the possession thing into a simple virus, and there are also a few excellently gory attack scenes, but everything else is just frustrating and annoying, not just because it looks fake and staged - thanks to all the Imdb users who perfectly explained it here in this thread - but it's also full of lackluster and/or terrible acting, especially Jennifer Carpenter's performance is just horrid. Nope, I don't like this.

(revised and overworked version of the review I first wrote in October 2011)



QUARANTINE 2: TERMINAL

German Title:
Quarantäne 2 - Terminal

USA, 2011
Director: John Pogue
(as John G. Pogue)

7/10







Considering the fact how bad the remake is AND considering the fact that I had absolutely zero expectations about this sequel, I have to admit that "Quarantine 2: Terminal", the directorial debut by John Pogue ("The Quiet Ones"), really blew me away. It's not just far, far better than the first part, it's also far, far better than the disappointing "[REC2]".

The reasons for this are simple:


~ Instead of simply re-using the same setting like they did in "[REC] 2", they use two completely different locations here, an airplane and an airport terminal.

- The plot may be not that original [Plane is taken over by a dangerous virus. Forced to land at an isolated terminal, the remaining crew and passengers try to survive], but I definitely enjoyed it way more than what Plaza and Balagueró had in mind. No religious stuff here. The virus IS virus, and the 'zombies' aren't possessed, they ARE infected.

- Instead of doing more night-vision stuff *yawn*, they use thermal vision this time, which actually looks extremely cool. Ever seen the Filmax-produced Spanish survival-slasher "Paintball"? Basically a crap movie, but here, the filmmakers used the same cool-looking thermal vision for the kill-scenes which actually made this dumbfest quite bearable.


More reasons: the cast is pretty good (stand-outs: Mercedes Mason and Ignacio Serrichio), most of the characters are nice, there's loads of splendid-looking make-up effects, loads of glorious gore and vomit, and many, many kills, including one really painful-looking needle-under-the-eye scene.

Apart from a few uninteresting and/or expendable scenes, some unnecessarily slow pacing in the middle and a few dumb plot holes, "Quarantine 2: Terminal" is an absolutely terrific and highly entertaining sequel. Fingers crossed they make a third part in the near/far future...

Wiki ~ Imdb
(revised and overworked version of the review I first wrote in October 2011)


28 comments:

  1. I'm on the love side of both of these. Felt like REC 2 was to the first what Aliens is to Alien. Pretty stoked for part 3 & 4 mainly due to the two directors splitting up to do one each.

    Definitely agree with the first though. Scared the shit out of me!

    I liked Quarantine 2 until they got off of the plane. Thought it kinda fell apart after that.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I've seen both Quarantine movies thanks to ky nephew - but I haven't seen either Rec. I need to Rec-tify that!

    ReplyDelete
  3. [REC] is a definite 10 out of 10 horror movie. My all time favorite, you know. ;)

    I also loved the sequel, because they went in a direction I didn't expect at all.

    ReplyDelete
  4. 100% flawless first REC. I have viewed it 3 times, and I NEVER do that!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I remember telling my Dad about these movies. He cried out "How do you know this stuff?!" My response "Hello, Scream Queen!" Hahaha! I do have to admit that I like QUARANTINE more.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I guess it's more on taste cuz I love both flicks. The first is an atmospheric found footage Zombie flick that works very well, while the second is the finest demon-zombie horror flick since Demons (and Demons 2)!

    ReplyDelete
  7. @Eric:
    Yould have been a decent sequel minus the exorcism plot and the annoying priest. Will see Part 3 on Thursday - excited!!

    Q2 is no masterpiece but it's way better than I expected.

    @Craig:
    You really, really need to get Rec-tified ASAP :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. @George:
    Yes, I know :)

    It's a love-it or hate-it sequel - and I pretty much hated it.

    @Anon:
    Haha, I've already seen it 5 or 6 times :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. @Jen:
    Really? You prefer Quarantine? Seen it a few weeks after REC and totally hated it.

    @Kai:
    Beth demon-flick since DEMONS??? You're joking, right?

    ReplyDelete
  10. I totally agree with the 10/10 for [REC] as I absolutely love this film!

    I like [REC2] probably more than you do but it definitely isn't as good.

    Looking forward to [REC3] although it will no doubt go straight to dvd here like the other two.

    Is Quarantine 2 worth a look? I saw the first in the cinema but never bothered with the sequel!

    K :-)

    ReplyDelete
  11. ...okay, maybe not as awesome as Demons, but it's still a pretty cool sequel...for me at least.

    ReplyDelete
  12. @Karina:
    Yes, this movie definitely deserves a 10/10.

    I've seen the 2nd part 2 times - both times it annoyed me.

    I'll have the honour to watch REC3 on the big screen on Thursday - yay!!

    Yes, I totally recommend Q2.It entertained me a lot!

    ReplyDelete
  13. @Kai:
    Well, I'd say even the diappointing Demons 2 is better than REC 2

    ReplyDelete
  14. Mein Haus, dein Haus... whatever :D

    ReplyDelete
  15. Glad you enjoyed part 3!

    I am surprised it has a lot of humour as the first two didn't have many laughs at all!

    We get is on 31 August but time will tell if the film gets a cinema release

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hah, and I expected you to hate it. I'm extremely glad you didn't. It sounds awesome and I can't wait to check it out. Hopefully, it will leak online soon. LOL.

    Are you interested in superhero flicks? If yes, check out my review of The Avengers - the most marvellous superhero movie ever made.:)

    http://cinemarvellous.blogspot.com/2012/05/97510-avengers-3d-2012.html

    ReplyDelete
  17. @Karina:
    Yeah, it's an effin' laugh riot. All the scenes with the SpongeBob-imitator "John Spinge"... priceless! :)

    Well, you can already pre-order the BluRay on amazon.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
  18. @Neb:
    George, I hope you'll enjoy it, but I'm not sure if you like it as much as I did, especially because it's so different from the previous parts.

    @Craig:
    Threeriffic indeed :)

    ReplyDelete
  19. Harry, I have no problems with 'different'. Bring it on. :)

    ReplyDelete
  20. oooh, yeah, I'm stoked about part three! BRING IT ON!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Herman, you'll love it. I'm 100% sure :)

      Delete
  21. Dont agree with the rec 2 trash talk at all... Apart from the priest. How you can think the posession aspect is ridiculous, but can buy into the plot of the first movie is the only thing that's "indescribably stupid".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The possession aspect IS ridiculous. Nuff said.

      Delete
  22. Disappointing to hear that [REC]4 isn't that great although after the train wreck that was [REC]3 (it wasn't a true REC film in my eyes) I am not surprised!! Will catch it on DVD when it appears!!

    K :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. [REC]3 isn't a trainwreck :P Well, even if you don't like the 3rd one, you won't get much of a kick out of the 4th one either.

      Delete

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