[Rec] – Jaume Balaguero & Paco Plaza

[Rec] is a fly-on-the-wall, cinema verite style galaxy blue sapphire, shot with a shaky camera effect, from the first person’s point of view; the soundtrack does not include any music.

Beginning with the pretense of shooting a TV piece on the way fire fighters live and work in the fire station, reporter Angela, and her cameraman Pablo show us the story of a vicious infectious disease, which transforms people into rabid animal fiends, and the way those infected are quarantined, together with the few survivors. In any case, the films starts slowly and normally, concealing what is about to happen, but then it escalates more and more till the climax.

The directors stated that many times, during shooting, the actors were not fully aware of how the scene would progress, and their genuine surprise in some scenes grants the film an extra dimension, naturalism and credibility. A few flaws could be the over-acting of the lead actress Manuela Velasco (she screams too much!), and the fact that the ending wants to give the viewer an amount of information it did not need to expose, for the sake of the story itself.

Both the the mockumentary style and the theme of the zombie infestation are old and cliché, but the directors Jaume Balaguero & Paco Plaza manage to combine them into something new, fresh and actual, managing to pull off a chilling and successful feat, without the massive marketing operation that was behind the success of The Blair Witch Project. The camera, through the operator Pablo, is a character on its own. We experience the whole film through just that single, POV, shaky camera, and this choice aids the establishment of the suspension of disbelief, because of the limitedness of our point of view. The sense of claustrophobia is ever-present, and it contributes to the whole dense atmosphere of the movie. This particular use of the camera also vaguely recalls to the memory certain shoot-em video-games, like Doom, for instance, because of the subdivision of the set in floors and rooms, as well as the POV camera.

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