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[Rec] 2

Year: 2009
Production Co: Castelao Producciones
Director: Jaume Balagueró/Paco Plaza
Writer: Jaume Balagueró/Paco Plaza/Manu Diez
Cast: Manuela Velasco

Jaume Balagueró's follow-up to his awesome breakout found footage zombie drama [Rec] suffers a little bit from the law of diminishing returns, but it's still a nifty little thriller.

Like the Insidious series, it picks up right where the original left off. We're outside the locked-down apartment building now, and as police and emergency workers swarm around we meet a squad of SWAT cops and the health department official they're ordered to escort into the building.

Once they get inside, you might not remember every beat of the original story (and like Insidious, it might be a good one to watch after you refresh your memory by watching the original first), but sights like the huge splatter of blood in the stairwell lobby will remind you that things didn't end well inside.

The health officer behaves increasingly strangely, insisting that the soldiers shepherd him ever further inside towards something he doesn't want to reveal.

But after some of the formerly living residents attack, he has no choice but to come clean. He reveals himself to be a priest, his overseers aware of the demonic rites that took place in the penthouse and led to the creation of the virus that's ravaged the population inside by Biblical means.

He reveals that he has to find the source of the virus to contain it, but when all hell breaks loose, we cut to a bunch of kids in the street outside, playing with their video camera and daring each other to break into the ill-fated building to see what's going on.

They climb up through the sewers to find what remains of the SWAT squad and some of the last few survivors inside, many of whom still have bloody ends to meet.

Even Angela, the reporter from the first film, shows up three quarters of the way through, and it's not hard to guess that – after the final frames of [Rec] showed her being dragged away from the camera screaming – she might not be as innocent and lost as she appears.

Cutting to another point of view halfway through gives the film more breadth and scope, something all too rare in found footage. Expanding the universe to incorporate the religious element also gives it more story but detracts a little bit from the neat tightness of the idea from first time around (Paranormal Activity went much the same way).

But it's still very scary, very bloody and very cool.

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