(good) Horror Films discussion

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Foreign Horror > [REC] (Jaume Balaguero & Paco Plaza)

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message 1: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 226 comments I posted this in the Movie Group but wanted to share with the true horror fans:) I was pleasantly and thrillingly surprised by this film, the kind of "true cinema" that Romero tried to create and failed miserably with DIARY. I would have graded it an (A)...and I'm tough on grading...but the films climax is marred by a stupid pop song that kicks in for the end credits. It just shatters the nerve racking tension! The film isn't scored, adding to the journalistic style, but right at the climax, well,...just hit the mute button quickly. I understand that this was remade in the US as QUARANTINE so I can't comment on that film except from experience: see the original first!

[REC:] (Jaume Balaguero & Paco Plaza, 2007, Spain) Fear spreads like a deadly virus, as a reporter and her cameraman become possessed by an ungodly terror: while the world sleeps, the government quarantine leaves them little hope of survival. Ángela and Pablo are filming their assignment at a Barcelona fire station, going about the boring routine of interviews and introductions, hoping that something exciting will happen. It does. They race through the darkened streets, passengers with a group of veteran firemen who must rescue a person trapped in an apartment. The tension builds as what seems to be a simple emergency call soon degenerates into an orgy of violence and bloodshed, and the apartment becomes a steel cage, unattainable freedom seen through the ethereal curtain of plastic while commanding threats are shouted by military police. The film’s cinéma vérité style brings a frustrating realism to the events utilizing overlapping dialogue improvised chaos: the characters behave like people trapped, not actors spouting rigid dialogue. An obese bloody woman ravages the first victim as Hell breaks loose upon the world, and we see the new reality where nothing is believable unless it is seen through a camera’s digital iris, where the optic nerve connects to the hard drive. The narrative accelerates creating intense friction between characters and events but then slows down, letting us catch our breath before the tumultuous shadows cloud our perceptions once again. The cloying darkness becomes a living thing, embracing the victims in the primal fright as the human mind becomes reactionary, uncivilized, the repressed survival instinct taking control and instructing them to run, run…but where? Ángela and Pablo are the last survivors and reach the forgotten penthouse where they discover a mystery that reaches into the Vatican and the chasm of Catholic ideology itself. In the tremors of night vision, a demented creature stalks the gloom and their fate is sealed, the camera ever watchful as they disappear into that evil night. (B+)


message 2: by Ubik (new)

Ubik | 46 comments Yes yes yes. Ive been looking forward to this since it was first announced years ago on 24framespersecond.net. And unfortunately, the DVD is still not available as a R1. Quarantine was being filmed even before REC was completed which is pretty sad because the general public were given NO TIME to get acquainted with the original before the remake was made. I didnt read all of your post because when I know I want to watch a film, I usually dont even bother with reviews or previews at all. My friend already watched it on youtube, but I refuse to watch a movie on youtube LOL


Tera (TheBookishAbyss) REC was a great film. Quarantine followed it almost exactly scene-by-scene.


message 4: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 226 comments Get that region free DVD player for under a hundred bucks and order from Amazon UK! This 2 disc set was only $20 w/conversion and is amazing, a must own:)


message 5: by Phillip (new)

Phillip argh!

must get region-free player, must get region-free player, must get region-free player.

damn, i have to spend more money i don't have!


message 6: by Phillip (new)

Phillip It's on the top of my (saved) Netflix queue as well, I'm happy to say. I'm so tired of waiting for that film to come out!


message 7: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 226 comments Cool, I knew it had to be released in the US eventually! It's actually on Blu-ray in Spain but without English subtitles, or I would add to my collection too.


message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

Lol, Rob, Blu-Ray is worldwide. I'm slowly but surely building up my collection although I'm regretting believing the hype over 'Machine Girl', that was a bad purchase!


message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

Well, believe it or not, most Blu-Ray discs DO play on both regions; it's up to the company releasing them to decide on whether or not they stay region free but because of a variety of reasons inc the fact that most people are using their PS3, as well as trying to combat piracy (R5's come out much sooner than anywhere else in the world!) it looks like most are choosing the universal format...so, we will be able to send each other movies without having to worry about whether they play or not.

There are lot's of web sites that list the Blu-ray regions, just in case you are tempted and want to get some Euro releases before they hit the States.


message 10: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 226 comments Rob, get a PS3 for films and an XBOX for gaming! But a PS3 from Ireland will be region locked to "code B"...sounds like some science fiction plot. You will only be able to watch B coded (or region free) blu-rays. What you really need is a blu-ray player that is code-free like the LGBH200; out of production but still sought after by film buffs because it will also play HD-DVD! My MULHOLLAND DRIVE is worn out which has never been released on Blu-ray..anywhere in the world. All of the BFI blu-rays from the UK are region locked so you would miss out on classics that will never be seen in the US. Please don't hesitate to ask any questions with regards to home theatre stuff; I'll help you spend your money wisely:)


message 11: by [deleted user] (last edited Jun 25, 2009 02:13AM) (new)

Rob, Xboxes can't play Blu-Ray movies although you CAN download Hi Def movies from the XBox 'Live' service.

A European PS3, as Alex mentions, is region coded to 2, mostly for game reasons, BUT, as most Blu-Ray movies are now being released region free it means that you will be able to play movies from all regions.

It is true that Xboxes are much more popular in gaming terms but this doesn't mean that it's a Beta versus VHS situation, far from it.
The film world have chosen Blu-Ray as the next gen format so Sony automatically are in the driving seat now...for movies.
Game wise, Microsoft are very secure and have just signed a deal with Facebook and Sky TV so the war of the consoles is still very much alive but the consensus seems to be that this time there won't be an outright winner and loser.

RE:cams, my dad just bought a Hi-Def camcorder but I haven't checked how to burn on it yet. Yes, most new PC's come with Blu-Ray burners now and you can also buy stand alone burners too.




message 12: by Phillip (new)

Phillip hmmmmmm, i'm tempted now to see quarantine, given that it seems like it's going to take forever for [REC:] to show up on DVD in my neck of the woods.

where did you find it, rob?


message 13: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 226 comments Rob, on the original version did the pop song at the very end bother you as much as it did me? I thought it drained the tension from the very frightening climax of the film! I actually swore at the screen...and I rarely talk during movies, even at the end credits: I let my feelings sink in for a while like enjoying a good refreshing wine (but this one unknowingly had a shard in it).

Here's a strange thought: do others sometimes feel that subtitles give a more legitimate expression, less abstract interpretation, than spoken dialogue? I've often considered making a film (yeah, like that'll ever happen) where the characters speak but there is no voice, only the normal spatial environmental sounds, score and effects, and their dialogue is only subtitled. Losing pitch and the way certain words are accentuated obviously changes the whole form...but it's probably an experiment that has been done before (that I don't know about). Anyway, random thoughts on a Friday after work!


message 14: by Phillip (new)

Phillip i have it on my netflix queue, but it was (recently) still in the waiting to be released file, or whatever they call it. i'll check to see if it has been moved to the other queue. thanks for the head's up!


message 15: by [deleted user] (new)

I'm glad to know this is finally getting a US release. I still haven't seen Quarantine, though hearing that it was a shot-for-shot remake made me lose all desire to see it.

Alex, I don't remember the ending credit song being quite as disruptive as you describe. It probably would have been a bit more effective had it been left out, but in my mind it didn't detract from the movie at all.


message 16: by Phillip (new)

Phillip I went to Amoeba today to pick up a recording I need for a class I'm teaching next week and sure enough, [REC:] was on the shelf so I picked it up after all the acclaim it has received around here. I just put it in the player and am about to watch it.

consider me excited.


message 17: by Phillip (last edited Jul 18, 2009 12:36AM) (new)

Phillip wow, what a great film, a real nice surprise....a totally stripped down doc-style gem. once they get into the building it all goes to hell and the tension is so nicely held in place throughout. it really brought me back to the first time i saw night of the living dead, you can't quite believe what you're seeing. and that tragic ending...tasty.

i'm really glad i saw the original first, no sense in seeing the american remake. i'm glad i dove in and purchased the film, i'm glad i have this one in the collection.

thanks to all who recommended this, it was a great view. and if you haven't seen it yet, alex and company is right: just hit mute at the close of the film and avoid that music track.


message 18: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 226 comments THE ELECTRIC COMPANY! Wow Rob, that brings back good childhood memories. I was never a Mr. ROGERS (though X the Owl has taken flight in my nightmares for years) or SESAME ST fan and loved the show, especially the Spiderman segments. I haven't thought about it in years. I suppose the experiement could be used for comic releif, but imagine if the wonky skinny guy in the Spiderman costume was saying creepy things about shooting his sticky web...changes the whole complexion. And would be investigated by the FCC!


message 19: by [deleted user] (last edited Jul 19, 2009 03:38AM) (new)

Phillip:

I'm glad you liked it! Generally good film, huh?

And good ol' Amoeba. I think we're a little spoiled in California.


message 20: by Phillip (last edited Jul 19, 2009 09:00AM) (new)

Phillip i REALLY liked it. i really appreciated the high level of tension it maintained. it just shows you how all the clever and arty (read: self-conscious) editing techniques that have come out of the MTV generation of filmmakers release tension instead of holding it. as rob said recently, it seems like most of the (good) horror is coming out of europe these days.

and i really appreciate amoeba. a friend was just visiting from nyc and reminded me that they have nothing close to amoeba in new york. you know, the berkeley store has been close to closing for almost two years now. they put some listening booths in the store and are having more in-store concerts (elvis costello did a free show last week) and it has helped, but things aren't so great financially. for the first time since the store opened (over 20 years), they have had to lay off employees.


message 21: by [deleted user] (new)

That's too bad--it's such a good store. The music retailing business just seems to have entered a terminal nosedive.


message 22: by [deleted user] (new)

Album sales for bands are still really strong at live shows. I think the explosion of downloading has effectively rubbed out the middle man (the retailer), though it hasn't made the album a thing of obsolescence. Bands just have to tour, now more than ever, if they want to make money or expose people to what they're doing.

Also, I think places like Best Buy and Borders are part of the reason why the middle man has been almost entirely cut out--horrible selection and insane prices have driven people further towards the free download.


message 23: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 226 comments Great bands (like WILCO) will always make albums...but remember that mp3 downloads are of very low quality. Good for the car or portable player but bad for sound. Always go analogue for true quality! I just listened to THE STONES: LET IT BLEED on SACD today and it sounds almost....almost...as good as a fine vinyl pressing. I used to be a buyer in the music business about the time in the mid 90s when the internet (and CD burning) were becoming a problem for our stores. I don't see how poeple can pay $18 for a CD when they can at least order online without paying sales tax...and at extreme discounts! The brick & mortar stores will soon be a thing of the past I'm afraid.
But you can't download vinyl:)


message 24: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 226 comments You have a wonderful wife Rob!! Should be a great show though I've never seen the DANDYS live (only live on video). I just read about the remix album but have yet to purchase. I guess they excised the clean filtered pop sound and released the raw demos. I don't want to pre-judge...but the slick production of MONKEY HOUSE was very very good without diminishing their unique sound.


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