Why is the current horror-film scene like the Arsenal Football Team? Answer: it is full of imagination and genuine thrills—none of them hailing from Britain. We know about those great Asian chillers, from The Grudge to The Ring, via Dark Water. We’ve also had the splendidly creepy Orphanage (still on general release) which will get you jumping out of your seat more than once during its running time.
Now again from Spain we have [REC]. A strange title for a movie, just think of the symbol you see in the viewfinder of a camcorder when you start recording, as a film crew do on a live broadcast, with a pretty young presenter making a frothy news story with Bridget Jones-style reportage. When nothing much happens at the station, the film crew decide to travel with some of the response team to a local apartment block to follow reports of a disturbance. A woman has been taken ill in her flat and when the emergency services arrive, one of them is savagely attached and chaos soon grips the scene.
What follows is a frenzied, creepy and occasionally gob-smacking experience for the victims— and for the audience. With the apartment block quarantined by the authorities because of mysterious reasons (a chemical leak or radioactivity are both mooted) those inside are trapped and something is turning the locals into very unpleasant zombie types. [Rec] is a production which is uncannily brilliant at capturing moments of sheer terror and uncertainty. More than Cloverfield and even The Blair Witch Project, this film deals with total mayhem and does a great job of disturbing the audience. Towards the end you do feel the filmmakers are throwing everything and the kitchen-sink around and it starts to lose its power to shock, but there is more than enough here to keep horror fans happy. Even if you are not too keen on subtitled films [Rec] is worth a punt; it made good money in the US because the language of sheer terror is universal.