[REC] (4 stars)


(18) 85 min


Pan’s Labyrinth and The Orphanage have proved that Spain is a hotbed of horror talent whose filmmakers can strike a chord overseas. [REC] easily joins these ranks (it already has an American remake, Quarantine, scheduled). Yet, instead of following the Spanish vogue for ghost stories [REC] is an all-out zombie fest shot from the hip.

The film boasts a cunningly simple premise. A Spanish TV crew follows a group of firefighters on what appears to be a routine callout. Little do they know that the block of flats they enter is ground zero for a zombie infestation. Amping up the claustrophobia as the authorities seal them into the building and the infection spreads, the filmmakers’ muddy the waters with vague hints of an unnecessary supernatural twist in the final reel, but overall this is a creepy, genuinely edge of your seat cinema experience.

It may be an amalgamation of various horror movies (most notably Dawn of the Dead, 28 Days Later and The Blair Witch Project) but it excels in its execution, while the directing/writing team of Jaume Balagueró (The Fragile, The Dark) and Paco Plaza (Romasanta) demonstrate a visual flair and a true grasp of disturbing imagery.

Unlike George A Romero’s latest, Diary of the Dead, [REC] revels in its realism, using the handheld camera to immerse the viewer in the action rather than give a knowing commentary on media over saturation. That’s not to say [REC] isn’t an intelligent film; smartly economical in budget and story, it ramps up the tension throughout to a genuinely unsettling finale

General release from Fri 11 Apr.


  • 4 stars
  • 2008
  • Spain
  • 1h 25min
  • 18
  • Directed by: Jaume Balagueró, Paco Plaza
  • Written by: Jaume Balagueró, Paco Plaza, Manu Díez
  • Cast: Jonathan Mellor, Óscar Sánchez Zafra, Ariel Casas, Alejandro Casaseca, Pablo Rosso, Pep Molina, Andrea Ros, Ális Batllori, Pau Poch, Juli Fábregas, Nico Baixas, Javier Botet, Carlos Olalla, Manuela Velasco

Handheld zombie movie in which a troop of firemen, with a TV presenter in tow, are called out to an unusual emergency. This all-out zombie fest, shot from the hip, is cementing Spain's position as a hotbed of horror talent.