[REC]2

Film
3 out of 5 stars
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Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

Click #3 for a 3-D image (3-D glasses required).

For those who care about such things, Spain was having an amazing horror moment a few years ago. Its countrymen had coproduced Pan’s Labyrinth, directed the zombie hit 28 Weeks Later—and made the original [REC], a claustrophobic, first-person video nightmare. That movie, a local smash, preceded our inferior Cloverfield and even spurred a Hollywood remake in Quarantine; only an Iberian scholar could tell us why a tapas-loving nation was so eager to be frightened. Now, with this underwhelming sequel, Spain proves it can stand toe to toe with any nation in the manufacture of unnecessary follow-ups.

We’re back in the same besieged apartment building, sealed off while interchangeable residents succumb to a rabieslike virus. Such premises are never going to prove completely boring, and reuniting codirectors Jaume Balaguer and Paco Plaza heat up the chase scenes with plenty of Aliens-style helmet-cam. (This time, we’re embedded with a SWAT team.) Too often, though, the movie is depressingly murky and hard to follow, and when the spooks start springing from the most unlikely place—the ceiling?—you have to wonder if they’re playing fair. A religious dimension shifts the whys closer to The Exorcist, as if anyone needed an explanation.—Joshua Rothkopf

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