Directors: Jaume Balagueró, Paco Plaza
Stars: Manuela Velasco, Ferran Terraza, Jorge-Yaman Serrano, Pablo Rosso, David Vert, Martha Carbonell, Carlos Vicente
When discussing found-footage horror movies, the conversation always circles back to The Blair Witch Project, and for good reason—Blair Witch is the sub-genre's grandaddy, far more successful and influential than Cannibal Holocaust. It's not the scariest found-footage movie ever made, though. No, sir—that honor goes to the 2007 Spanish tour-de-force of relentless fear known as [REC]. By a long shot.
To sell it quickly, [REC] is 28 Days Later…if Danny Boyle's film were confined to a single setting, that of a locked-down apartment building in Barcelona. Here, a news reporter, her cameraman, and some firefighters, bad luck be damned, find themselves in the aforementioned apartment building just as a mysterious viral outbreak begins turning its residents into bloodthirsty lunatics.
Whereas 28 Days Later… balances its scares with humanity and tender character development, though, [REC] spends most of its perfectly brief 90 minutes going for the viewer's jugular. The film's last 15 minutes—staged with a breakneck intensity by co-directors Balaguero and Plaza, and breathlessly ferocious—amount to one of horror's greatest sequences of sustained, presented-in-real-time anarchy, leading into a final reveal that no subsequent genre flick has been able to top so far. —MB