Who's In It: Manuela Velasco, Jonathan Mellor, Ariel Casas, Alejandro Casaseca, Pablo Rosso
The Basics: In the original Spanish [REC] (and its nearly identical American remake, Quarantine) a sprawling apartment building becomes overrun with zombies and a film crew following the fire department on what they thought was a routine call get trapped inside when government authorities lock it down. Well, now more folks are going in. This time it's a priest and some SWAT guys and some idiot teenagers with a camera phone and bottle rockets. And thank goodness for those dumb teenagers with fireworks, because it makes for a great zombie + exploding stuff scene.
What's The Deal:: If you've seen both the Spanish and English-language versions then you know that in the American one it's about biological weapons gone wrong. Makes sense. In Spain it's about the devil. And that's fine. Supernatural zombies are just as valid as other types of zombies. But then it all gets weird--and weirder in this sequel--when pompous Catholic priests show up to show how they can, at least temporarily, freeze the devil-zombies by saying stuff about Jesus and generally throwing the Church's weight around. You'd think that in light of recent super-scandals they'd be a little less huffy about presuming moral authority but no; if it takes fictional zombies to get people's respect again then they're going to go for it.
Stuff That Kind Of Baffled Me (Spoilers Here. Skip It If You Care.): Apparently the source of the zombie contagion involves an evil enzyme, sort of like The Force's midi-chlorians. Now, doesn't that kind of eliminate the supernatural element? Did I miss something? And then, more troubling to anyone trying to parse out meaning, is the way that the original devil-zombie infection takes place in a little girl and someone in the film actually says, "The evil is in the child" and that it should all be kept a big secret. So, not to keep harping on this, but in the wider context of the real world, doesn't that all just sound creepy coming from a person wearing a clerical collar? Is it filmmaker commentary on the Church's attempts to control public life? Or is this just a case of an unthoughtful horror film where X really does equal X?
And Another Thing: We've reached the point where the faux-documentary shaky handheld camera aesthetic is well established and it would be a good idea if we could move on to whatever's next. I don't know what that will be. But let's do it soon. It's no longer novel or frightening.
The Good Stuff: Nice zombies. They're extremely nasty--one of them appears to be little more than skin and bones--and they perform very cool spiderwalks that feel like shout outs to The Exorcist. There's also a great zombie gang-attack scene and in those moments when uninfected humans destroy them the slaughter is super disgusting and highly satisfying.