The de facto highlight of the horrific [REC] 2—the 28-minutes-later sequel to the Spanish zombie flick Americanized as Quarantine—comes when a bug-eyed, crucifix-clutching priest (Jonathan Mellor) tries in vain to extract a blood sample from a demonically possessed young pea-soup spitter while SWAT-team studs with itchy trigger fingers lie in wait. In other words, where the overrated [REC] was a Blair Witchy riff on George A. Romero's Dead reckonings, the s(l)icker follow-up—again set almost entirely in an apartment building overrun by the hungry infected, and shot through the survivors' shakycams—principally channels The Exorcist and Aliens, but none too memorably. Contrived panic abounds, as do expiring camcorder batteries and expletive-laden variations on "Shoot it in the head!" Meantime, subtext and even text remain scant unless one counts the creeping misogyny of a script in which pure evil tends to be female, whether the flesh is underage, withered, ravaged, or nubile. Predictably, [REC] 2 is higher-budgeted than its bare-bones predecessor, which only means that the spectacular degradation of video in scenes where the zombies get in close and start chomping will test the limits of any HDTV. If only [REC] 2's rabid baddies knew how to push [STOP].
Manuela Velasco passes inspection.
Runs at Varsity, Fri., July 9–Thurs., July 15. Not rated. 84 minutes.