Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Mooching off the success of “Cloverfield,” this remake of the handheld-camera-perspective Spanish horror flick “[REC]” bucks the trend of Screen Gems generic horror by actually being pretty good, and offering some effective scares and some stylistic flair. The horrific shenanigans focus on a wet-behind-the-ears television news reporter (Jennifer Carpenter) who visits a local fire department for a standard “day in the life” feature story. After receiving an emergency call to a disruption by an old woman in an apartment building, she discovers that some residents are slowly coming down with some form of rabies and mauling one another. When she and the firefighters begin to figure out what’s happening, they discover the government has quarantined the building and locked everyone inside. Needless to stay, the bodies begin to pile up. On the demerits list, Carpenter (so good on “Dexter”) has some noticeably weak moments, and in the last third, the shaky camera and high-pitched shrieks devolve the proceedings into mild incoherence. But the jumpy moments usually work, and some night-vision scares late in the game (reminiscent of the superior “The Descent”) really deliver in terms of incrementally ratcheting up tension. It’s a rare horror movie that actually gives a shit and tries to satisfy the audience’s desires rather than just luring them in for generic/tired conventions. It’s not groundbreaking, but it’s a quite decent-to-solid entry that should play well with those who like this sort of thing. If only the final shot of the film wasn’t spoiled in every TV spot, trailer, and even the poster itself.


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