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The Foreign-Language Horror Film You Need To See At Least Once

Zombie films and found-footage flicks tend to polarize horror fans as they're two of the most overpopulated trends to come out of the genre in the 21st century. However, there is one Spanish-language movie that occupies both of these mediums and yet is still considered a classic by most horror aficionados. Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza's REC has gained heaps of critical acclaim since it was unleashed on unsuspecting audiences in 2007, forging a legacy as one of the scariest films of its era. As Time Out noted, REC is widely regarded as one of the top 100 horror movies ever made among filmmakers, authors, and other notable experts who know a thing or two about inflicting fear on people. That's no small feat.

REC follows a news reporter, Angela (Manuela Velasco), and her cameraman, Pablo, (Pablo Rosso), as they try to survive an outbreak that's turned an apartment building's residents into bloodthirsty maniacs. The worst part? They're trapped in the quarantined building with no way out. What ensues is a claustrophobic and intense experience that drags the viewer into the terror for a nonstop chill ride. The movie is a prime example of how effective found-footage horror can be when the tool is employed correctly, as well as a reminder of how zombies will always be scary in the right setting.

REC is more relevant than ever in 2021

Some of the best horror stories reflect real-world fears and anxieties, and that's part of REC's appeal. Even though the film was released almost 15 years ago, it feels very topical in the current climate. At its core, REC is a movie that deals with an unexplainable disease outbreak, and it does a great job of elevating the feelings of paranoia and uncertainty that arise from such circumstances. While the current COVID-19 pandemic hasn't turned anyone into flesh-munching zombies yet, REC's disease-centric themes will resonate with contemporary audiences.

The film's creators have acknowledged its prescient qualities as well. As Deadline previously reported, REC was re-released in theaters last year in an effort to help them stay afloat during the economic uncertainty of the pandemic. That's because it was the perfect horror movie for the moment. Furthermore, the film was given the 4DX treatment to make audiences feel even more immersed in the nightmare.

REC spawned its own franchise

Viewers who watch REC for the first time and want more afterward will be pleased to know that the story didn't end after one movie. Balagueró and Plaza's horror masterpiece paved the way for three sequels — Rec 2, Rec 3: Genesis, and Rec: Apocalypse — that dug deeper into the cause of the outbreak and its effects on society.

Of course, REC's success didn't escape the attention of Hollywood either. One year after the Spanish thriller hit theaters, an American remake, titled Quarantine, was released. Starring Jennifer Carpenter in the lead role, Quarantine is a worthwhile redo of the Spanish original — in fact, the chiller is regarded as one of the scariest movies of all time in its own right. Quarantine also produced a sequel, Quarantine 2: Terminal, which came out two years later. However, those movies didn't please the original creators. In an interview with EW, Balagueró expressed distaste for the movie, stating that it copied too much from its predecessor while simultaneously misunderstanding its true meaning.