Dir: Paco Plaza
Cast: Leticia Dolera, Diego Martin, Javier Bolet, Alex Monner, Claire Boschet, Ismael Martinez
Over the last decade Spain has proven to be a true vital force when it comes to the horror genre by delivering many consistently good and quality horror films that are actually worthy of the hype that’s been praised upon them, two in particularly are the films [REC] and its sequel [REC] 2. They were both absolutely terrific found-footage/zombie films that were both scary and intense roller-coaster rides from beginning to end (the 1st film made it in my top 10 horror films of the 00′s list). So now comes the 3rd installment in the series [REC] 3: GENESIS. Does it continue in the excellence that was set up by the previous films? To be honest, not quite sadly.
Set few hours before the events of the 1st two films, the films follows a couple named Clara (Leticia Dolera) and Koldo (Diego Martin) on their wedding day. The day goes off without problem until by the time they get to the wedding reception that night, the horror really begins when one of the guests starts attacking everyone and then a zombie outbreak is unleashed. So now Clara, Koldo and the remaining survivors must try to survive and escape from this night of terror.
Now I must begin by saying that I think your overall enjoyment of this film will come down to how much you take to the new direction that this film goes with since it is a complete 180 in terms of both style and tone to the other two films. For example the found-footage format that was used extremely well in the previous films, is completely done away with after the first 20 minutes and becomes a standard shot film (although when it does, its done in quite an amusing way). Also the tone for this one is much more fun and comedic when compared to the other more serious and scarier films. So if you don’t like the sound of those changes, you’ll probably won’t like this one. But if you take it for what it is as a horror comedy, it’s still quite decent watch.
The performances from the cast are all solid (Leticia Dolera and Diego Martin both have good chemistry) and direction from Paco Plaza (who was co-director on the 1st two films) was pretty good. One thing I really liked about the film is that they further explore the mythology of the zombies themselves in some very interesting and creative ways (I could explain why that is but I don’t want to spoil it for anyone but if you have seen the other two films, you’ll know why these aren’t just your standard zombies). Another thing I liked about it was the whole ‘we don’t give a fuck’ attitude that filmmakers had when it came to their characters. They set up characters who you think are going to see more of during the film, but then they kill them off right away (it might annoy some people but I surprisingly enjoyed that aspect). Plus the cinematography is fantastic (seriously, this film looks absolutely stunning at the times), some of the humour is quite funny at times, the gore was gruesome and you can’t go wrong with the character of Clara taking out zombies with a chainsaw in her wedding dress.
In terms of negatives, there is a lot. While the film can be funny, unfortunately the some of the humour doesn’t really work and it either falls flat or comes across as being too silly (there’s a character in the film who runs around wearing a SpongeBob SquarePants costume. No joke). The tone shifts from being comedic to being serious at curtain points which I found to be quite jarring, especially towards the end. Some of the characters aren’t really given much time to develop and, even though its tonally different, it lacks both the scares and intensity of the previous films.
There are other aspects of the film I could go more in-depth into but I already covered them in my video review of the film when I saw it at 2012 Melbourne International Film Festival a few months ago, which you can watch here:
Overall I found [REC] 3: GENESIS to be a decent and fun film despite it being very flawed. I can definitely understand why someone would hate it since it is very different from the 1st two films. However I think if you go into it with the right mindset and watch it for what it is, it might find it enjoyable as well.
The Australian DVD:
The DVD reviewed was a screener, no comment can be made on Picture/Audio quality.
Review written by Bede Jermyn
Thanks to Pinnacle Films for their help and support.