About a year ago I watched the spanish zombie film REC. It was a fun piece of straight zombie entertainment with some interesting variations on the genre.
REC employed the handheld camera narrative device also found in Blair Witch Project – a filming technique in which everything we see is footage shot on a camera supposedly held by a character within the film. This camera-within-a-film narrative device merely serves as a justification for lower budget shooting techniques; film makers are reluctant to make visually imperfect films, though the makers of Cloverfield seemed to think the technique makes for a more engaging film even at the high budget level. But the positive side of camera-within-a-film shooting is it demonstrates audiences couldn’t care less about visual perfectionism. They don’t need perfectly smooth camera movement or shot compositions following the rule of thirds and other cinematography myths. Blair Witch was psychologically interesting, but visually primitive. In other words the better a film is conceptually the more corners can be cut in terms of eye candy.
Recently I watched REC 2 and was engrossed from start to finish. What a shame this film uses the handheld camera narrative device all the way through (though it suits the last ten minutes of the film perfectly). The story, for a straight narrative horror film, is outstanding. It combines some of the best elements of The Exorcist, Blair Witch Project, Evil Dead series and Romero’s original zombie trilogy and has a handful of excellent plot twists. I enjoyed this even more then Frank Darabont’s Walking Dead series.
Although REC 2 is much better than it’s predecessor you’ll need to watch the two films in order to get the full effect.