News reporter Jennifer Carpenter and her cameraman Steve Harris are on a routine story following a night in the lives of LA fire-fighters. Travelling to an apartment building on a disturbance call, they are alarmed to find an old lady going completely rabid and bitey. And before they (or any of the other tenants in the building) are able to get their heads around this bizarre situation, the building is put under...you guessed it, quarantine. Lots of biting, screaming, running, and semi-professional camerawork ensues.
This John Erick Dowdle film is a tough one for me. Itís a remake of the excellent Spanish horror flick '[REC]', following the film (which was sort of '28 Days Later' meets 'The Blair Witch Project') almost to the letter, but with different cast and crew. It isnít all that much of a step down in quality, for the most part.
I canít even really recommend it to people who havenít seen '[REC]', because...well, go and damn well see '[REC]' then! And anyone who has seen it, does not need to see this almost shot-for-shot Americanisation (some of the early scenes differ from the original, and a few plot holes are sewn up, but thatís about it), as it wonít be as impactful. This film just simply shouldnít exist, at the end of the day and I couldnít quite get that notion out of my head.
Anyway, thereís some nice, chewy-bitey zombie action, I gotta say, with an awesome visual of a guy missing most of the flesh on his leg. I also liked the moment where Harris beats the hell out of a zombified person with his camera and we see blood splatter the lens. The shaky cam style, which I found to be quite good in the original (I hate the technique, but it worked better there than in any film Iíve seen since 'The Blair Witch Project'), is more professional-looking and less sickness-inducing this time out. Some will see this as a flaw, but given that itís a professional cameraman at the handicam helm, it makes sense to me, as it did in the Spanish film. For what itís worth, the camerawork is more zoom-happy than anything else.
The one big plus this film has is lead actress Jennifer Carpenter who is easily may favourite thing on TVís cult hit 'Dexter'. Sheís similarly likeable here, if not quite as adorable as her Spanish counterpart from the original. Carpenterís slight tomboyishness separates her from the perky original anyway. Sheís still funny, likeable and personable, itís just that she has a different, less adorable vibe. By the end of the film, it has to be said that Carpenter is acting her little heart out, and itís a shame that the film failed to grab me for reasons outside of her control.
Totally unnecessary and very hard to give a rating to if youíve seen the original. Itís still far more preferable than the terrible 'Cloverfield' or the uneven 'Diary of the Dead' in the shaky-cam horror sub-genre. But seriously, couldnít they have waited like 5 years at least before making this?