Remake of Jaume Balagueró’s Rec, directed by John Erick Dowdle. Reporter Angela (Jennifer Carpenter) and her cameraman Scott (Steve Harris) are doing a piece on firefighters. They ride along with firemen Fletcher (Jonathan Schaech) and Jake (Jay Hernandez) on a call to an apartment building where one of the residents has been heard screaming. Turns out she has an advanced case of rabies, and so do a few other people who live there. After the Center for Disease Control kindly locks them in (hence the title), our heroes basically become fish in a barrel. Their only hope is finding a way out and not getting bitten.
The whole thing is filmed on hand-held camera, which takes some getting used to. It’s been done before, but it is a clever ploy in this context; we’re watching from a subjective view, so we’re at the mercy of whatever the camera operator can catch on film. Therefore the bitten critters lurking in the dark are more unnerving when we don’t have a safe objective camera. The found footage technique makes the movie seem genuine, giving it a reality TV kind of feel (whoever gets voted off gets fed to the rabies monsters).
There’s quite a bit of humor at the beginning of the movie, establishing the characters as funny and likable. Which makes it more disturbing to see them torn to shreds. Look, it’s Columbus Short and a teeny-tiny Joey King:
I’d say the middle of the film is the closest it comes to being scary. The last half hour plays out like a game of Resident Evil, with infected people jumping out at every turn. That might still be creepy, but Angela is in such a state of hysteria that I just wish she’d shut up and die already. Otherwise the performances are decent, and the script also makes a fair amount of sense.
I saw this in the theatre with my husband Andrew and his friend Steven. We spent a good half hour debating whether the movie was good. Andrew and I were on the side of bad, but over time we’ve both softened and grown to like the movie more, possibly because we’re Dexter fans. If you’re in the mood for gore and a bouncy camera, give this one a look.