04/07/12
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Review – [REC]3: Genesis

Directed by Paco Plaza

[REC]3: Genesis changes the formula of its predecessors, making it a distinct entry in the series yet without losing the unique aura that makes the other [REC] films so special.

Set shortly after the events of the first two films, [REC]3 takes place at a country estate where our leads, Clara and Koldo, are to be married. It’s a large affair, with dozens of friends and family (including an ominously under the weather uncle…) in attendance. In the first twenty or so minutes, we’re introduced to a wide range of characters – all of them memorable individuals, yet at the same time uniformly annoying. The overall effect of this first act is that it generates a feeling of “I can’t wait until all these insufferable people are zombified”, and [REC]3 delivers. One of its strongest scenes is the initial outbreak – the panic and pandemonium of the hellish situation are captured perfectly, and the gore effects (which are put to full use for the rest of the film) are excellent.

Some fans may be disappointed to hear that [REC]3 is largely shot in a more ‘traditional’ cinematic style, interspersed with found footage sequences. The scenes shot on handicam are amongst the best in the film; their strength making up for their relatively light use.

With this change in style and setting comes a change in tone. The oppressive, claustrophobic and just plain spooky atmosphere of the Barcelona apartment building is gone, as well as the grim suspense that makes [REC] so terrifying. The scares in Genesis come mostly from ghouls playing peek-a-boo with the audience rather than the all-out fear assault experienced at the climax of the first [REC]. In [REC]3, the filmmakers’ sense of humour is on full display with lots of film-nerd meta-riffing that pokes fun at themselves as much as the audience and some gross-out gore set-pieces that are bound to draw comparisons to Peter Jackson’s early films (such as this one).

While it’s difficult to separate [REC]3 from the earlier films, it’s important to stress that stylistically, it’s different from the others. Having said that, the vibe – with its demonic zombie carnage, outrageous gore and weird Catholicism – is very plainly that of a [REC] film, making [REC]3: Genesis a worthy instalment in what is surely one of the best horror franchises of recent years.

3/5

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