After watching the cinema verité movie Quarantine, I kept hearing about how [Rec] was much superior, and I finally got around to confirming for myself that it, in fact, is. The two main problems that plagued Quarantine were much reduced here (the inability to see what was going on, and the believability of the guy carrying the camera [Pablo, played by Pablo Rosso]). I found that this made me much more receptive to the movie in general, so although many of the scenes in Quarantine were almost direct copies of scenes in [Rec], I enjoyed them much more in [Rec].
For those that have seen neither, the plot is this: a field reporter, Ángela (Manuela Velasco), is following around firemen Manu and Álex (Ferran Terraza and David Vert) for the night with her cameraman Pablo. They get called to a building where the tenants heard sceams coming from an old woman's apartment. Upon arriving, they find the tenants clustered downstairs in the lobby and the police already there. When they break into the old woman's apartment, she looks deranged, and then she attacks one of the policemen, biting him ferociously. When they try to carry the wounded policeman outside, they discover that the building has been sealed, and none of them are permitted to leave. Whatever the old woman had appears to be contagious, and as the infection spreads, the remaining survivors try to find ways to escape the building.
The movie is shot from Pablo's point of view, because he and Ángela want to document the injustice of trapping people inside a building with crazy infected people. As I mentioned above, there really wasn't a point where I asked myself why Pablo didn't just drop the camera, and it was generally pretty easy to tell what was happening. The acting seemed sharper, as well. The personality conflicts that in Quarantine seemed a little contrived are here much more believable and well-written.
Leaving Quarantine out of the conversation altogether for a bit, let me say that this movie has great timing, starting slowly and then steadily building to a gripping climax. The setting of the run-down apartment house is perfect, gloomy and shabby, with a dizzying central spiral staircase and stretched out, claustrophobic apartments. However, no matter how good a cinema verité movie is, I think I'll never quite be able to totally suspend my disbelief about the obsession of the cameraman with recording everything, and there will always be shots in which it's hard to tell what's going on, unless you're making a very boring movie. But overall I did enjoy this movie; it's definitely a good entry in the angry zombie genre.