[REC] 3: GENESIS Review

[REC] 3 Movie ReviewBy Adam P. Cray, MoreHorror.com

[REC] 3: GENESIS Movie Review

Today is Koldo and Clara’s wedding in the Spanish countryside and all is running smoothly…until Koldo’s uncle Victor begins showing signs of a strange illness brought on by a dog bite on his hand.

During the grand reception, Victor goes full zombie, bites another wedding guest, and all Hell breaks loose, turning the couples’ nuptials into a full-fledged nightmare, The wedding reception makes for fresh cinematic zombie territory as Koldo and Clara become separated and spend much of the remainder of the film avoiding the undead and searching for one another within the grand hall, kitchen, chapel, and grounds of the facility.

[REC]3: Genesis is a departure from [REC] (review) and [REC] 2 (review) in several ways, the most obvious being its visual aesthetic. At first we think we’re back in familiar, video camera POV territory.

Videographer Atún sports a steadicam unit to try to make the wedding look as “cinema verite” as possible, while Cousin Adrian does the handheld camera thing and the film cuts back and forth. Then, 20-some minutes in, the camera’s broken and director Paco Plaza abandons the “cam POV” altogether for a more traditional composed film narrative.

Perhaps this was the most logical move as far as story, but the result is mixed: may work for some, but not others. As an avid fan of the first two [REC]’s this is where the film loses its edge for me. 1 and 2 benefit from constrained claustrophobia, having us only see what the camera and sparse light allow us to see. So having this new story filmed with a conventional narrative loses its punch for me.

Occasionally we do go back to camera POV’s for a few shots with our characters using their camera’s nightvision down a dark shaft. And we also get the security cameras around the complex showing the chaos in the various areas of the facility. All in all, this change in look is a matter of taste: those who think it should’ve kept with the handheld look, might be disappointed. For those who may have never seen a [REC] film and prefer this more conventional style of storytelling, it might look great.

With the shift in visual style, also comes a change in tone. While 1 & 2 had its character-driven comic bits, 3 goes all-out camp for the most part. In a move that’s more Evil Dead than [REC], Koldo dons armor he finds conveniently housed in the reception building to fight the zombie outbreak, When Spanish pop plays during a couple of nasty kill scenes, the laughs overpower the wincing. Is this change in tone to the extent of The Empire Strikes Back feeling like a different universe than The Phantom Menace? Maybe not quite as dramatic, but it did make me nostalgic for the knots-in-my-stomach suspense of the first two films. 

As far as story, the tight continuity established with 1 & 2 is much looser with 3. POSSIBLE SPOILER: Though no characters return from the previous films, we do see the events of the first [REC] unfold on a TV in the background in one scene, suggesting that Genesis is happening simultaneously with the original film.

On the plus side, we do learn a little more about the creatures (like that they freeze when the priest spouts religious quotes). Performances in [REC] 3: Genesis are also notable, especially by Leticia Dolera and Diego Martin as Clara and Koldo. The pair establish a likeable couple from the get-go, so we’re with them “for better or for worse” through the ceremony and subsequent separation during the zombie outbreak. The supporting cast is also solid, especially Borja Glez. Santaolalla (Sr. B) as Atún who provides the kind of character-driven comic relief I missed from the previous films.

As a standalone, [REC]3: Genesis is a familiar but fun zombie film with cool characters and a swift pace. As a sequel, [REC]3: Genesis is faithful to the first two films only to a point, feeling more like a black sheep in the established [REC] family.

[REC] 3: GENESIS was written by Luiso Berdejo and Paco Plaza and directed by Paco Plaza. It has a running time of 80 minutes and is rated R by the MPAA.

Magnet Releasing will release the film on VOD on Friday, August 3, 2012 and in select theaters on Friday, September 7, 2012.

Official Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/rec3

[REC] 3: GENESIS Redband trailer:

[REC] 3 Poster

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