[•REC] is a 2007 Spanish horror film directed by Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza. The film was released in Spain on November 2007. [•REC] was filmed using shaky camerawork. A sequel, entitled [•REC]2 was released on October 2009, and a third installment entitled [•REC]3: Génesis is released on March 2012 making it a trilogy. Also, a comic book compilation was released in 2012 to accompany the release of [•REC]3: Génesis, titled [•REC]: Historias Inéditas. The book presents five different story arcs set in the [•REC] series, illustrated by five different artists. A fourth installment is in production and to be released in Spain on October 2014 entitled [•REC]4: Apocalipsis.
REC follows a television reporter, Ángela Vidal, and her cameraman, Pablo, who cover the night shift in one of Barcelona's local fire stations for the fictional documentary television series While You're Asleep. The firehouse receives a call about an old woman who is trapped in her apartment. When they arrive, Ángela and Pablo film the police breaking down the door. The woman becomes extraordinarily aggressive and bites one of the policemen. Meanwhile, the terrified residents gather in the entrance hall and look on as the police and military seal off the building. A firefighter who remained in the old woman's apartment is bitten and plummets through the stairwell to the lobby floor. The camera crew, remaining police officer and the second firefighter go up again and are attacked. The officer shoots the old woman. The camera crew remains trapped inside the building with the residents and continue recording in spite of police pressure. Ángela interviews a little girl named Jennifer who lives in the building. Jennifer is ill with what her mother claims is tonsillitis. She says her dog, Max, is at the veterinarian because he appeared to be sick as well.
A health inspector wearing a hazmat suit arrives and attempts to treat the injured, who become suddenly and fiercely violent despite their critical injuries. The health inspector explains that the time frame in which the disease takes effect varies by blood type. The health inspector also reveals that sometime during the previous day, a dog with the illness was taken to the veterinarian; the dog became violent and attacked and killed other pets at the clinic. The dog was euthanized, and was traced back to the apartment building. Jennifer, the girl who owned the dog, then suddenly attacks her mother. The inspector tells the distraught residents that this unknown but virulent disease is infecting people, causing them to turn into bloodthirsty savages. More and more people in the building become infected, and Ángela and Pablo are forced to fight them off. Eventually they learn that there is a key to a door in the apartment building workshop, which leads to an exit via the sewer system. However, the key is located on the third floor in the manager's apartment.
After finding the key, Ángela and Pablo appear to be the only human survivors, everyone else being dead or infected. Rather than making their way to the workshop, they are forced upstairs to the penthouse by the remaining infected. They then search the penthouse and discover that its former owner was an agent of the Vatican who was charged with researching and isolating a suspected pathogen believed to be the biological cause of demonic possession, which was later confirmed to exist in a young girl who was possessed. The agent kidnapped and brought the girl to the penthouse to conduct his research and to possibly cure her; during this time the virus managed to mutate and become contagious. The agent decided to seal her off, presumably to let her die of starvation and dehydration. A door to the attic opens and Pablo uses his camera to look inside. A boy jumps at the camera and breaks its light. Pablo turns on the night vision to see in the dark and discovers the sealed door referred to earlier by the agent on an audio tape. The agent abandoned his efforts to cure the girl after failing to engineer a vaccine and sealed her in the room before leaving the city. The girl, now a ghoulishly emaciated figure, begins searching the kitchen area, unaware of Ángela and Pablo's presence. Pablo tries to escape, but trips and is viciously attacked by the girl, causing Pablo to drop the camera. Ángela picks it up and runs, only to trip and drop the camera as well. She searches for it but is unable to find it. The camera continues to record as the screams of the infected girl are heard on the tape recorder and Ángela is dragged into the darkness, screaming.
REC was received acclaim from most critics. As of May 17, 2009, the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 96% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 20 reviews. Reviewing the film for the BBC, Jamie Russell called it "A runaway rollercoaster of a fright flick", praising the "faux-docu handheld style", and the sense of claustrophobia and confusion, claiming "Rec" will definitely jangle the nerves", while criticising the lack of substance and "one-dimensional" supporting cast.
Bloody Disgusting gave the film four and a half stars out of five, with the reviewer saying, "[REC] has it all and is probably one of the best Spanish horror films in recent memory."
- Reaper Award 2009. Won: Best Indie/Foreign production
- 2008 Goya Awards (22nd edition). Won: Goya Best New Actress (Manuela Velasco), Goya Best Editing (David Gallart)
Nomination: Goya Best Special Effects (David Ambid, Enric Masip and Álex Villagrasa)
- Fantasporto 2008. Won: Grand Prix Fantasporto, Audience Jury Award
- Fantastic'Arts 2008. Won: Special Jury Prize, Youth Jury Grand Prize, Audience Award
Amsterdam Fantastic Film Festival 2008 , Silver Scream Award
- Cinema Writers Circle Awards, Spain 2008. Nominated: CEC Award Best Editing, CEC Award Best New Artist
- European Film Awards 2008. Nominated: Audience Award Best Film
- Fant-Asia Film Festival 2008. 2nd place: Best European/North - South American Film Best Film, Fantasia Ground-Breaker Award Best Film
- Festival de Cine de Sitges 2007. Won: Best Director Award, Best Actress Award (Manuela Velasco), Audience Award El Periódico de Catalunya - Best Motion Picture, Jose Luis Guarner Critic Award, Grand Prize of European Fantasy Film in Silver - Special Mention
The sequel, [•REC]2, premiered in September 2009, at the Venice Film Festival, and was commercially released in Spain on October. The sequel deals with the events immediately following the end of the first film. In 2011 [•REC]3: Génesis was announced as a prequel but the prequel idea was scrapped but was released as a parallel side story to the main series. The third [•REC] movie was released in 2012 and [•REC]4: Apocalypsis is set to be released on October 31, 2014.
Released in the US on October 2008, Quarantine is an American remake of the film that follows parallel to the original story-line with the major difference being that the origin of the virus is that of a chemical weapon similar to rabies rather than demonic possession.
It wasn't as well received as [•REC], and is considered "an acceptable substitute" that is still remarkably inferior.
The zombies in [•REC], [•REC]2, and [•REC]3: Génesis are not truly zombies. The "zombies" are really persons possessed by a demon(s). The virus in the movie is highly contagious. It is transmitted by blood, saliva, and other bodily fluids. The infected are puppets of the demon possessing the girl Tristana Medeiros.
If an infected bites someone, the time of the reaction depends on the blood type of the victim (this is as far as it is explained), but the victim falls to a brief coma while experiencing seizures and excessive salivation or frothy saliva, much like a rabies virus. The infected's eyes are usually blood red or blank white.
In children, the approximate time of reaction is longer than any adult infected. Jennifer, in the first film, only had symptoms resembling tonsillitis, or at least according to her mother.
The infected move very quickly and have no self-preservation, seeking only to spread the infection, and because of this, are nigh unstoppable without destroying the brain. Due to the demonic origin of the virus, they can be warded off with (Christian) exorcistic prayers and religious paraphernalia such as crosses and holy water.
The virus can also cross species. In the first film, Jennifer's dog said was infected and caused havoc in a veterinary clinic. Another case is from the Historias Inéditas, the third comic entitled "Zoombiii¡" where an infected man (theorized as the fireman from the apartment building) made its way to the Zoo of Barcelona where he infected all the animals including the albino gorilla named Snowflake.
Comparison between Zombies and REC's Infected
|Condition||Decaying, Slow||Viral, Fit|
|Transmission||Bites, scratches, bodily fluids, etc.|
A comic book compilation was released in 2012 to accompany the release of REC 3, titled REC: Historias Ineditas. The book presents five different works set in the REC series, each with their own story arc and illustrator.
- The first, ENCERRADOS (Trapped) explains the fates of the trapped kids from the second film.
- The second TRISTANA, provides the backstory for Tristana Medeiros, who becomes the possessed after being raped.
- The Third, ZOOMBII, deals with an infected man making his way to a Zoo, where he infects the animals.
- The fourth titled EL EXPERIMENTO (The Experiment), follows the priest, Padre Albelda, (the dead priest from the second film and the man heard on the voice recording at the end of the first installment) attempting to end the Medeiros Girl's life in the apartment.
- The Final Arc follows the Infected Uncle from the third film and reveals what happened to Max (the infected dog from the first film).