Saturday, 10 May 2008

Rec my Outpost

As stated before: I love zombies. Unfortunate the zombie genre does not attract the greatest of directors, so most of the time your average zombie movie is as brainless as the walking corpses on the big screen.

So I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered not one, but two excellent new movies featuring the walking dead. The Spanish movie 'Rec' and the British made 'Outpost'.
Both are low-budget and non-Hollywood; both are excellent and bring a refreshing new take on the zombie genre.

Technically speaking both movies do not really have zombies. With Rec you have people infected with a kind of rabies that turn them into flesh ripping madmen, a bit like the rage-virus in 28 Days Later, and with Outpost you have Nazi ghosts who have the nasty habit of pushing iron nails into soft fleshy places.
But hey, if it shambles like a zombies, moans like a zombie and tries to bite you like a zombie, it really doesn't matter anymore what it is.

First Outpost. The story takes place somewhere in Eastern Europe in a war torn country. A scientist hires a group of mercenaries to take him to a deserted bunker. The group is led led by a gruffy sergeant played by the always excellent Ray Stevenson, best known for his role as legionnair Titus Pullo in the hit TV-show Rome. As soon as they arrive at the bunker all hell turns loose as the place is cursed with the presence of the earlier mentioned Nazi-zombies. Basically the story then turns into a 'this little piggy went to...' fest, in which the mercenaries are killed off one by one.
I really liked the pace and the gritty atmosphere Outpost contained. With minimal effects it really conjures a frightening and almost claustrophobic feeling that remains the whole movie with you. The only real drawback of the movie is that the story is not as fleshed out as it could have been. As soon as the characters and setting is introduced the remainder is used for scary and gory moments and not much more. A little bit more of whys and how's would have turned a good movie into a excellent one. But still, this is a must see if you're a zombie fan.

Then Rec. This movie really has a lot in common with the recent released Cloverfield, as that all the action is viewed through the lens of the character holding a camera. So the camera does not merely record but is also a part of the story itself, in effect it is as if you are self in the movie. The story takes place in Barcelona and it follows a TV-crew making a show about what the local fire brigade does on a average night. After a somewhat dull tour of the fire brigade building the action start to happen when the firemen are called out to break open the door of a sick elderly lady.
And this is the part where again all hell breaks loose. Without spoiling to much, the old lady has a nasty case of biting people in the throat.
The rest of the movie is just one long roller coaster ride with loads of adrenalin filled chases. Guaranteed you will be scared. In fact this movie is so scary that one of the trailers for Rec did not show any footage of the movie itself but reactions of a audience watching the movie. How cool is that?
Rec is a excellent movie and probably one of the better movies of 2008, the only fault being that it is a little bit short.

Both movies are made outside of America, but as often happens Hollywood is quick to make a remake of it. So of Rec there is already a remake called Quarantine. I have not yet seen the remake, but for some reason I think it will not be as good as Rec. Even more I wonder why Hollywood have to insist so much on always making remakes of foreign movies. Why can't the original be released in the US?

Anyhoo, besides my mutterings about bland remakes, I can suggest downloading these movies or buying them on DVD. That's the sad thing about independent movies, almost never you will get to see them on the big screen.

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