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Total Crap: 11.11%

1 review, 3 user ratings

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[Rec] 3: Genesis
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by Jay Seaver

"Til death do you part from your head."
4 stars

"[REC] 3: Genesis" breaks with the previous films in the series enough that one almost wonders if director Paco Plaza had the idea for the movie and then figured that the benefits of folding it into "[REC]" continuity outweighed the pitfalls - after all, a pretty-good Spanish-language zombie movie would be much less likely to get even a meager theatrical release in America today if it didn't have the brand name, even if it will in some ways come up short in comparison.

This movie takes place well away from the apartment block of the first two films, instead focusing on the wedding of Clara (Leticia Dolera) and Koldo (Diego Martin), a happy affair being recorded by Koldo's teenage cousin Adrian (Alex Monner), Clara's little sister Tita (Jana Soler), and official videographer Atun (Borja Gonzalez Santaolalla, aka Sr. B). Early on, Adrian notices Uncle Victor's hand is bandaged; Victor (Emilio Mencheta) explains he was bitten by an animal. However, once the reception is in full swing, things seem to get much worse, and before long a zombie outbreak has separated the newlyweds, although Koldo is certain Clara is alive and intends to find her somewhere on the grounds.

The movie starts out as the same kind of first-person horror as the previous installments, though varying its technique by offering up three cameras with different-enough looks that the audience can soon identify the point-of-view character from the cinematography, but once the outbreak really begins, one camera is smashed and the film is in third-person scope after that (annoyingly, that image is actually smaller than the camcorder footage on the Blu-ray used to screen this movie, though I imagine anamorphic 35mm prints make it bigger). At times, there are hints that Plaza at one point intended to go with much more found footage; the picture will linger on things like CCTV cameras or monitors as if to suggest they would be used as sources. There's a shot of a news broadcast that indicates we're in the same timeframe as the first two movies, but Plaza and his co-writers only do the smallest bit to expand the mythology of the series or develop new twists on the first-person horror movie, especially compared to [REC] 2.

So that's what [REC] 3 isn't, and while you can go nuts berating it for that, there's much more fun to be had in enjoying it for what it is. To wit: It's a fast-paced bit of blood-and-guts horror that sets its splatter in an under-used setting (seriously, why aren't there more horror movies set at weddings, with their contained setting, built-in stress, white dresses to get soaked red, and family potentially already at each other's throats for symbolism?), where Plaza runs with nutty ideas and makes them work. This is a movie where it makes perfect sense for the bride to pick up a chainsaw and cut a path through a zombie horde or for the groom to don a literal suit of armor and swing a mace, at least when those things happen, and if you can't enjoy that, well, that's a shame. The splatter and gore are satisfyingly physical and old-school, even if you can sometimes see the seams. And are we really going to complain about Pablo Rosso's cinematography looking too good? Sure, the audience may have been expecting something that looks like amateur home-video, but the result is pretty slick, and helps give the movie a cinematic, larger-than-life feel, as does Mikel Salas's adventure-evoking score.

And then there's the cast, especially the two leads. It's easy for the audience to love the good-looking couple as much as they love each other; they've both got a quickly-established charm and upbeat personality. Diego Martin makes a fine romantic hero, swashbuckling when buckling swashes is called for, communicating a love-born confidence, and looking pained when he loses a companion without dragging the movie down. Leticia Dolera is a wonderfully kick-ass bride, capable in a way that's both surprising and not, able to hack monsters in half without seeming butch. They're great when together or separated. The rest of the cast does a good enough job in creating their individual characters that I wish they'd been able to do more, both because the movie is a quick 80 minutes and because a lot of them are living dead - or just dead dead - before too long.

Admittedly, even as a zombie wedding movie, "[REC] 3" could do more - it's the rare horror movie I'd like to see bulked up rather than slimmed down - and it suffers from the common genre malady of picking a victorious, pessimistic, or ambiguous ending seemingly at random. But Plaza's high-speed, let's-do-this-and-then-do-the-next-thing style carries the movie from beginning to end with nary a break or chance to get fidgety. This may not be a great addition to the "[REC]" franchise, but it's quite entertaining for what it is.

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originally posted: 09/08/12 18:19:01
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2012 South By Southwest Film Festival For more in the 2012 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2012 Chicago Fear Fest For more in the 2012 Chicago Fear Fest series, click here.

User Comments

5/12/13 Marty Corny at times. better characters and fuller story than rec2. more gory too! fun franchise 4 stars
12/02/12 Langano Worst movie of the year! Even dumber than Prometheus. 1 stars
10/11/12 Pat Noon This franchise has been highly enjoyable thus far, and this one delivered! 4 stars
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  07-Sep-2012 (R)
  DVD: 06-Nov-2012


  DVD: 06-Nov-2012

Directed by
  Paco Plaza

Written by
  Luiso Berdejo
  Paco Plaza

  Leticia Dolera
  Diego Martín
  Ismael Martínez
  Alex Monner
  Jana Soler

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