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Christopher Webster [Film Festival 03.11.12] Spain zombies apocalyptic horror action slasher

Year: 2012
Directors: Paco Plaza
Writers: Paco Plaza
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by:
Rating: 3 out of 10

Plaza has elected to reinvent the series by injecting the very same cliches that the first two films flatly and successfully rejected, the result a stale fusion of Evil Dead 2 and the Resident Evil films, and it just doesn't work...

The demonic zombies of [rec] return yet again in [rec] 3: Genesis, but instead of the tenement building of the two prior films, the action is switched to the wedding of Koldo (Diego Martin) and his long-time soulmate Clara (Leticia Dolera). Among the wedding guests is a cheerful uncle with a bloody bandage on one hand who claims to have been bitten by a rabid dog, and midway through the boisterous reception he succumbs to the infection, spewing blood and biting off his wife's cheek. The infection spreads in record time, the fancy villa host to a bloodbath as relative turns on relative, and a scattered band of survivors do their best to ride out the night.

Director Paco Plaza helms this third film minus his co-director Jaume Balaguero, and shakes things up the latest time around, making tonal and technical choices that will likely divide fans of the previous films.

The original [rec] was by no means the earliest of the "found footage" horror films, but it was the first that actually made me really sit up and take notice. The almost real-time progression of events, absence of music, the docudramatic approach to the performances and gore, all helped to immerse the viewer in a horror experience that still holds up as an excellent example of how to breathe new life into the basic zombie/siege scenario, and its final moments are some of the scariest in modern horror.

Its follow-up [rec] 2 continued in the same vein and kept the p.o.v. gimmick, but broke new ground by expanding its own zombie mythology by introducing an element of demonic possession. It was during my first viewing of the sequel that I realized what a coup directors Balaguero and Plaza had pulled off. They'd managed to channel the intensity of gore-drenched Italian splatterfests like the Demons films while maintaining a comprehensible narrative and a rarely-faltering, dead-serious tone. So now director Plaza has returned to the well while Balaguero busies himself with projects like Sleep Tight, and it's pretty obvious that all involved are trying with this new film to distance themselves from the found footage gimmick that basically defined its predecessors.

The shaky-cam bit that opens the film turns out to be just an extended pre-credits sequence, after which Plaza shifts gears radically to a traditional third-person shooting style, complete with intrusive soundtrack, brighter-lit and more smoothly-shot photography, and more polished effects. The transition itself isn't particularly jarring, and is even welcome at first. But it takes only a few minutes to realize that Plaza has traded in more than just the shooting style of the previous films, and scene after scene the tone shifts further and further away from that of its predecessors. The action ping-pongs between separated main protagonists Koldo and his new wife Clara as they do what they can to reunite, Koldo donning a suit of armor to protect himself from attack and Clara rapidly transforming into a chainsaw-wielding superheroine. Supporting characters mug and behave like they don't completely take the threat all that seriously, the gore scenes get campier and campier, and there are way too many cheap scares and "Boo!" moments. In other words, Plaza has elected to reinvent the series by injecting the very same cliches that the first two films flatly and successfully rejected, the result a stale fusion of Evil Dead 2 and the Resident Evil films, and it just doesn't work.

It sucks to have to come down so hard on a film like this when it's obvious its makers are trying to challenge themselves, but it's hard to escape the feeling that Balaguero might have been the glue that held the first two films together so well. And I personally wouldn't have cared if Plaza had kept the found footage approach intact throughout as long as the script had continued to beef up the mythology like the first sequel. Instead we get a rehash of horror/comedy tropes that seems somewhat out of touch, especially in the wake of mediocre films like Juan of the Dead that prove the law of diminishing returns. Apparently Balaguero is going it alone for the fourth and final film, [rec] 4: Apocalypse, and I'm holding out hope that he'll end the series on a high note. In the meantime, I'm simply going to pretend this latest entry doesn't exist.

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guy (9 years ago) Reply

that is why is like more the story of quarantine, it keeps the horror survival style, and does not go into a demonic possession bs, and comedy action RE like horror...

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