It’s that time of year again! Time to celebrate the Resurrection with a weeklong plunge into all things zombie! Here’s the history: In 2008, Dr. Girlfriend and I decided to spend a week or so each year marathoning through zombie films that we’d never seen before, and I would blog short reviews. And simple as that, the Easter Zombie Movie Marathon was born.

For the curious, here are links to 2008, 2009 (a bad year), 2010, 2011, 2012 (when we left the blog behind), 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020.

[Rec] 2 opens with the final shot of the previous film before shifting our focus to a new set of cameras. With the success of [Rec], which brought in $32.5 million on a $2 million budget, the 2009 sequel was able to up its budget to approximately $5.6 million and instead of a single camera point of view, we get five over the course of the film. The first four are the police tactical unit that are called to the scene of the apartment building that has been quarantined. We have a single main cameraman, but he has the ability to shift our view to any of the other three police helmet cams.

As genius as the original set-up was, this takes it a step farther and really gives returning writers/directors Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza (with a screenwriting assist by Manu Diaz) the opportunity to expand the scope of their storytelling. However, while the actual narrative of the film grows in leaps and bounds, having police officers’ helmet cams as our POV forces the film into more of a first-person shooter style of filming that is detrimental to the enjoyment of the movie overall. For me, anyway. The main cameraman is barely a character this time around, to the point that I forgot he was there and thought they might have abandoned the found footage approach halfway through.

They didn’t, though. But you’ll still find reviews that say it was a three-man SWAT team, forgetting about the fourth man altogether.

Luckily, the crazy twist I mentioned in the [Rec] review is crazy enough that I still love the movie.

Spoilers ahoy!

When our tactical arrive, we learn that the building has been locked down for two hours and the police have been called in to escort Dr. Owen (Jonathan D. Mellor), from the Ministry of Health, inside to take charge of the situation. From this point, we get what one would expect from new living people going into an apartment building where everybody inside is a zombie. However, that twist!

When one of the officers, Martos (Alejandro Casaseca), gets infected and is attacking the others, he is stopped, not by bullets, but by Dr. Owen using prayer and a rosary! Martos is forced into a side room by the words and then the rosary is hung on the door, keeping him inside and quiet.  

Turns out, Owen isn’t from the Department of Health after all. He’s there on behalf of the Catholic Church, checking up on a strange experiment involving a possessed young girl from Portugal, named Tristana Medeiros. As we learned in those final moments of the first film, the agent who rented the penthouse had been tasked with isolating an enzyme from her blood that could be the source of the possession. From there, a potential cure or vaccine against demonic possession could be developed. However, the enzyme mutated and became contagious, spreading to a neighbor’s dog. The agent locked Tristana in the attic to die of starvation, but she didn’t die, as we saw in the nightmare-inducing night-vision shots at the end of [Rec].

Anyway, Owen is a priest who is there to get that blood sample to save the world from demonic possession. Oh yeah. The zombies are the undead, but they’re also part of a hive mind, controlled by the original demon inside Tristana, which explains why they come and go rather than stay on the hunt all the time.

I don’t know if the film really needed to bring demons and priests into the mix, but it’s an element that has been missing from most of the zombie films we’ve watched over the years. It also provides an explanation for the origins of the plague that is an interesting mix of science and mysticism, bringing a fresh take to what is, for some, a stagnant genre.

It’s at this point that we get a new set of eyes added to the mix as the father (Pep Molina) of Jennifer, the little girl from the first film, convinces a firefighter (Juli Fàbregas) to get him into the building with the medicine he still thinks his demonic zombie child needs. They are followed by three teens with a camera and things go about as well as one might expect.

We also get the return of Ángela (Manuela Velasco), shell-shocked but seemingly none the worse for wear, despite what we saw last time. The gang interrogates one of the teens, who has become infected and learn that Tristana is still in the penthouse, which they checked and found empty. Turns out, there are some things that can only be seen in total darkness with the aid of infrared light.

This throws a whole other supernatural element into the film that is fantastic but doesn’t get explored as much as it could. Using Ángela’s night vision camera, they find Tristana in some sort of hidden pocket-dimension or something equally as unnerving and before they are all killed, Ángela saves the day by blowing off Tristana’s head with a shotgun.

Or is the day saved? Owen needed her blood, and they can only get out of the building if he gives the okay. I’m not sure why he can’t gather up blood from the corpse, but okay, whatever. Now they’re stuck. Again.

I kind of need to spoil the ending in order to discuss another bizarre addition to the [Rec] mythology. Sorry, y’all.

As one might have expected, Ángela was possessed by the demon previously known as Tristana. She kills everybody and mimics Owen’s voice to okay her escape, claiming that he’s staying behind because he’s been infected.  Then, in a flashback to the night vision from the previous film’s finale, we see Tristana grab Ángela’s face and soul kiss some weird giant worm into her mouth (!!!) in a completely horrifying and disgusting scene that raises new questions about the source of the demonic possessions/infections.

So, the demon wins. The question is, does this mean that demonic zombies are going to spread once she gets out? I would say tune in next time to find out, but we’ll have to wait until [Rec] 4: Apocalypse to see what happens, as it picks up at this point.

Next time, in [Rec] 3: Genesis, we take a side trip and get a little more background on the situation and see what’s happening at another infection site.

(Visited 4 times, 1 visits today)