Zombies chomp on a reality TV crew and others in the strictly-by-the-numbers Spanish horror flick "REC."

Zombies chomp on a reality TV crew and others in the strictly-by-the-numbers Spanish horror flick “REC,” which plays like “Night of the Living Dead” meets “The Blair Witch Project.” Co-helmers Jaume Balaguero and Paco Plaza, whose previous efforts also came from Spain’s Filmax genre stable, rely entirely on the stale gimmick of filtering action through a video lens. Lazily scripted, without even a pretense of character development or psychological depth, it offers nothing new for genre fans and no reason for mainstream auds to bite. Pic should die a rapid death in Euro hardtops and find an afterlife in ancillary.

Perky TV reporter Angela (Manuela Velasco) and her unseen cameraman Pablo are taping fire department routine for reality series “When You’re Asleep,” when firemen Manu (Ferran Terraza) and Alex (David Vert) respond to a call about a woman locked in her apartment. Police are already on the scene.

Things turn supernatural after officers break down the door and the woman starts gnawing her would-be rescuers. Although told to shut off their camera, the intrepid reporters record it all on tape. Soon, the entire apartment building is locked down, with residents, reporters and rescuers are trapped inside.

Angela bides the time by interviewing pic’s gallery of types. Among the supporting thesps, Carlos Vicente as a doctor and Carlos Lasarte as a vain gay man make the strongest impression.

As more characters fall victim to the flesh-eating disease, lots of running and shaky-cam shots ensue, with Angela narrating hysterically.

Since lensing and sound are meant to be from Pablo’s p.o.v., the filmmakers forego such elements as a score or montage, elements that might have provided some much-needed suspense, tension and atmosphere. Tech package and effects are nothing special.

REC

Spain

Production

A Filmax Entertainment presentation. (International sales: Filmax Intl., Barcelona). Produced by Julio Fernandez. Executive producers, Fernandez, Carlos Fernandez. Co-executive producer, Alberto Marini. Directed by Jaume Balaguero, Paco Plaza. Screenplay, Balaguero, Plaza, Luis A. Berdejo.

Crew

Camera (color), Pablo Rosso; editor, David Gallart; music, Carlos Ann; art director, Gemma Fauria; costume designer, Gloria Viguer Zabala; sound (Dolby Digital) Xavi Mas; assistant director, Fernando Izquierdo; casting, Cristina Campos. Reviewed at Venice Film Festival (Venice Nights), Aug. 29, 2007.

With

Manuela Velasco, Ferran Terraza, Jorge-Yamam Serrano, Carlos Lasarte, Carlos Vicente, David Vert.
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