A comely reporter for a late-night news show is trying to make the best of what promises to be a boring night covering the lives of firemen. An emergency call to the station has first responders (with their documentarians in tow) rushing into an apartment complex to aid an infirm old woman whose peculiar behavior has her neighbors fearing the worst. The video camera captures events as they escalate from bad to worse: the woman seems in the throes of a disease that is making her violent; the authorities have quarantined the building; and those trapped inside are dying horribly one by one. And they aren't staying dead.
If anyone is even thinking about making yet another first-person, shot-on-DV film about the zombie apocalypse, they need to take a good, long look at [REC], and be honest about whether or not their project will bring anything new to the table. Though filmmakers Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza are treading paths well-worn by low budget horror auteurs, their attention to character details, pacing, and documentary realism bring a bracing freshness and real suspense to what could have been yet another zombie flick. All genre familiarity goes right out the window as [REC]'s long horrible night unfolds, and even a final reel reveal that threatens to undermine the realism of the piece only serves to heighten our anxiety. The thing fucking works.