While You’re Asleep

We have to tape everything, Pablo. For fuck’s sake.

– Ángela

For Day 26, I decided to watch something I haven’t seen before – the 2007 Spanish found footage film, [.REC]. I’ve seen the 2008 American remake, Quarantine, but never the original. So today, I dug up a copy and settled in. As far as zombie movies go, it does some interesting things with the concept – the pseudo-mystical origins of the zombie virus, for instance.

Found footage has never been my favourite sort of film – it often requires a supreme effort of suspension of disbelief on my part to buy that some fool is continuing to film despite being pursued by zombies. But [.REC] does it better than most, with the video being shot as news footage, and the camera often being dropped or bashed around to add to the realism of the moment. And the idea of a self-contained zombie apocalypse – in this case taking place in a single apartment building – is one I enjoyed. Knowing that some form of authority was outside, intent on keeping the characters from escaping added another layer of tension to things. And the zombies themselves were fun; fast moving, strong and creepy.

The only real let-down of the film were the characters, save Manuela Velasco’s Ángela Vidal. Most of them were little more than sketches, there to be zombie-chow and little else. Only Velasco’s dedicated reporter gets any sort of development, as she becomes determined first to expose what she believes to be a conspiracy, then to simply chronicle what’s happening so that someone, somewhere, might see. It gives the film a strong centre if nothing else.

That said, I’ve found this lack of character when it comes to characters to be a common weakness of many recent zombie films, so I wasn’t altogether surprised. Otherwise, I enjoyed the film quite a bit. If you haven’t seen it, give it a shot. You might enjoy it too.

I give it three screeching zombie toddlers out of five.

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