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[REC] 2 -- Film Review

"[REC] 2"

The Bottom Line

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It's nice to see that the Europeans aren't letting us get too far ahead in the vitally important cultural area of zombie movies. Although "[REC] 2" -- the sequel to the Spanish hit of a couple of years ago that was faithfully remade on our shores as "Quarantine" -- doesn't exactly bring anything new to the genre, it's no less effective than its predecessor in expertly conjuring an air of low-tech-style dread.

This sequel, set mere minutes after the first film, again is set in a rundown apartment building whose residents have all mysteriously been transformed into bloodthirsty zombies that have a nasty habit of popping up unexpectedly.

Clearly inspired by vintage predecessors like "The Blair Witch Project," the film uses the conceit of having all the action depicted through shaky, first-person videocam images.

Revolving around the efforts of an increasingly spooked SWAT team to clear the building of its infected occupants, its footage supposedly is being shot by an unseen cameraman, helmet-cams on the soldiers' heads (is that a common police technique?), and a group of interloping teenagers who naturally document their every move.

The all-too-familiar proceedings mostly comprise a series of gory surprise attacks by the zombies, though an effort is made to punch up the narrative via a priest (Jonathan Mellor) posing as a health ministry doctor who provides a cheesy, "Exorcist"-style demonic explanation for the events.

Despite the undeniable technical proficiency of co-directors Jaume Balaguero and Paco Plaza -- they also wrote the screenplay with Manu Diez -- the ultimately repetitive "[REC] 2" doesn't add much to the original, and the ending that clearly sets the stage for a third entry in the series doesn't inspire much hope that things will be measurably different.

Opens: Friday, July 9 (Magnet Releasing)
Production: Filmax Entertainment
Cast: Jonathan Mellor, Oscar Sanchez Zafra, Ariel Casas, Alejandro Casaseca, Pablo Rosso, Manuela Velasco, Andrea Ros, Alex Batllori, Pau Poch
Directors: Jaume Balaguero, Paco Plaza
Screenwriters: Jaume Balaguero, Paco Plaza, Manu Diez
Producer: Julio Fernandez
Executive producers: Julio Fernandez, Carlos Fernandez
Director of photography: Pablo Rosso
Editor: David Gallart
Production designer: Gemma Fauria
Costume designer: Gloria Viguer
Rated R, 84 minutes