There are no delusions of grandeur here; [REC] knows it’s nothing more than a simple genre film. Instead of resulting in lazy, derivative filmmaking, this has allowed the creators to focus on conjuring and almost flawlessly executing moments of genuine terror. Even the most predictable events have you gripping the armrests in white knuckled fear. There is the odd fresh concept introduced to the mockumentary template, but those are just garnishes for the scares that keep the story unfolding at a rollicking rate. The narrative is simple and straightforward, but the pacing allows this to be an asset rather than a detriment.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of [REC] is its brevity, clocking in at a skeletal 76 minutes. This length means that there is no wasted screen time and the claustrophobic tension remains at fever pitch from the moment events take a turn for the worse. Sure, if you’re trying to get across some deep social or existential commentary, by all means take your time. If however you can scare the hell out of your audience in little over an hour, there’s no point in diluting the impact with superfluous scenes just to kick it up to a more ‘respectable’ running time.
If you’re going to a horror movie, it’s because you want to be scared senseless. In this regard, they don’t come better than [REC]. Even a pseudo-intellectual film critic such as myself forgot about looking for technical and structural flaws and submitted to the non-stop fright-fest. I suppose you could wait for the already completed Hollywood remake Quarantine, but I doubt it will be as much fun.