Paying homage to the likes of “Evil Dead” and “Dead Alive,” the movie delves into an over-the-top gore fest with oral sex sight gags and a man dressed in a Sponge John (no, not Sponge Bob) suit.
Reviewed by David Feltman
“This one has the high definition HD and the megapixels.”
The Spanish “[REC]” series has consistently found new spins for both of the too well tread zombie and found-footage horror sub-genres. From the viral “Exorcist” take on the zombies to placing the camera into the hands of an ambitious news reporter or a squad of scared SWAT members, the films succeed in finding fresh angles. Story-wise, the “[REC]” films have always hinted at a deeper mythology driving the narrative but always opted for suspense over too much plot, which is a recipe for excellent horror.
This time around, co-director Jaume Balaguero has bowed out to leave the reigns solely in the hands of his peer, Paco Plaza. The resulting prequel is definitely a new direction for the series, but a direction familiar to the audience, splat-stick. “[REC] 3” is almost too comic for its own good, spending much of its time winking at the camera and proffering shallow, clichéd characters for fodder. But that’s part of the joke too. The first twenty minutes of film follows a wedding, with the camera bouncing shakily between attendees. A professional wedding photographer mocks the “unwatchable” quality of hand-held cameras and just as the zombies show up a cameraman shouts, “I must film everything,” before the angry groom snatches the camera from him and smashes it. From there the hand-held conceit is completely abandoned, wink, wink, nudge, nudge, say no more.
The entire plot rests on the near misses as the bride and groom, separated at their wedding by a zombie infestation, try to reunite. The story does nothing to further the “[REC]” universe and the tiny bit of heavy-handed mythology dolled out works more like a deus ex machina than any sort of real revelation. This ploy makes “Genesis” the red-headed stepchild of the planned quadrilogy so far. But these shortcomings are easy to forgive considering the film actually pulls off the horror-comedy shtick.
Paying homage to the likes of “Evil Dead” and “Dead Alive,” the movie delves into an over-the-top gore fest with oral sex sight gags and a man dressed in a Sponge John (no, not Sponge Bob) suit. At one point, groom Diego Martin, dons a suit of “shining armor” for protection as he charges off after his new bride, Leticia Dolera. Meanwhile, Dolera takes up a chainsaw and goes medieval on her infected guests.
Amid all of this general goofiness, “[REC] 3” still scores some well-earned scares. The film makes liberal use of windows and reflections, instantly shifting gears from respite to rigor. “[REC] 3” is an odd addition to a series that’s approached its story so seriously until now, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s still a lot of fun.