Blu-ray Review: [REC]

The release of The Blair Witch Project in 1999 sparked a wave of ‘found footage’ films which has continued to sweep across genre cinema. As you’d probably expect given the relative low cost of this approach, there have been a number of duds. However, it’s a format which can produce impressive result. Lake Mungo, Cloverfield, Paranormal Activity and Noroi: The Curse showed how it should be done. [REC] is arguably the best of what this sub-genre has to offer.

Reporter and cameraman, Ángela (Manuela Velasco) and Pablo (Pablo Rosso), are filming a television program following the night shift of a local fire crew in Barcelona. When they receive a report of an elderly woman trapped in her apartment, it seems like just a routine call-out. However, when they arrive at the block, they soon discover that something strange is going on. When the pensioner bites one of the police officers, everything suddenly goes to hell in a handcart.

[REC] uses the limitations of a single camera brilliantly to create a horror film which is tense, gripping and terrifying. Whilst the character of Ángela can get irritating at times, she’s pivotal to the film working as a whole. It’s through her reactions that we are triggered. Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza’s film has gone on to inspire sequels and a US remake, but the sheer impact of [REC] has never been replicated.

Special edition contents:

  • High Definition Blu-ray presentation with two viewing options: the “theatrical version” (24fps, 1080p, 78 mins) as shown in cinemas, and the “production version” (25fps, 1080i, 75 mins) as originally filmed
  • Original Spanish DTS-HD MA 5.1 and 2.0 audio options on both versions
  • Optional English subtitles
  • New audio commentary by film critic and historian Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, author of Found Footage Horror: Fear and the Appearance of Reality
  • Archive commentary by directors Jaume Balaguero & Paco Plaza
  • The Making of [REC], an archive featurette examining the process of production featuring interviews with cast & crew
  • How to Shoot a Horror Movie, a French-language featurette presented by directors Jaume Balaguero & Paco Plaza
  • Archive interview with Jaume Balaguero & Paco Plaza looking back on the film
  • The Fantastic Four, an archive panel discussion with [REC] directors Jaume Balaguero, Paco Plaza and new wave Spanish horror contemporaries Gonzalo Lopez Callego and Juan Antonio Bayona
  • On set footage of the cast & crew at work on key scenes including “the attack on Mrs. Izquierdo” and the “climb to hell”
  • Archive interview with director of photography Pablo Rosso
  • Archive interview with sound supervisor Xavi Mas
  • Archive interview with sound designer Oriol Tarragó
  • Confidences, a video diary by star Manuela Velasco
  • Deleted and extended scenes, including “Fire Station Redux”, “The Secret Archive” and “Corridors of Nails”
  • Casting, original video footage from the audition process
  • Trailers and TV spots
  • Image gallery
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Adam Rabalais

FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collectors’ booklet with new writing on the film by Xavier Aldana Reyes

[REC] is out now on Blu-ray and available to stream on Arrow

Previous Film Review: Robin's Wish
Next SEE: Flux Amuck - 'Caterpillar': ragin' into '21

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