Being a fan of Paco Plaza’s Spanish horror films “[REC]” (inspired the American remake “Quarantine”) and its sequel “[REC] 2“, I was ecstatic to learn that the next sequel “[REC] 3: Genesis” was going to be shown in U.S. theaters and video on demand. This film is a parallel sequel to the first two films and tries to open a new plotline in the franchise, while it further develops the premise introduced in the most recent film.
It begins with a sort of a tribute to the first two movies, as it employs a hand-held camera style with Clara (Leticia Dolera) and Koldo (Diego Martin) as the main protagonists with Koldo’s cousin Adrian (Alex Monner) doing the video recording for their wedding. After the wedding ceremony, the couple holds a reception with their family and friends in attendance. While the party is in full swing, Adrian shoots his uncle vomiting while some people in biohazard suits are seen roaming about the garden. Things are about to break apart, as the demonic virus that has caused an apartment building to be quarantined seemed to have made its way to the wedding guests and staff. Koldo becomes separated from Clara, as the two must fight their way out to survive.
It was rather curious that director-writer Paco Plaza had seemingly abandoned the groundwork set by the first two films and does something different to expand on his franchise. I heard that the franchise will return to the original premise in the forthcoming [REC] 4, but I thought it was odd for the filmmakers to introduce a new story and make it as a sequel. The first-person POV style camerawork ends after the opening act before the introduction of its title, and from then on, it becomes your standard horror cinematography. It was as if the direction had realized the futility of recording when what you should be more concerned about would be survival. It makes some sense, but then the film seemingly abandons what made the first two movies stand out as “record” and effective in the delivery of suspense and horror.
Be that as it may, even with the abandonment of the first-person camera style, “Genesis” does stay true to the elements that were introduced in the first two films and expands on them. The zombies or human-demons become much more fleshed out and their qualities and characteristics become further developed in this film. “[REC] 2” introduced the element of a demonic plague, and “Genesis” further goes into this device. The zombies vary from slow-moving, shambling flesh eaters while some are your fast-moving, inhumanly strong types whose explanations may come much later in another film. I believe it would be safe to assume that the length of time when the demonic infection got into the host body has something to do with it (their reflections suggest this as they are shown to be that of the woman in the first movie). The creatures this time were also revealed to have some vulnerabilities to religious items and even to words from the scripture. This is a Spanish film, so it is to be expected that the film comes rich with Catholic overtones, as it develops its core premise.
Paco Plaza also seemed to have made some changes to the film’s tone. There were some exchanges and scenes that I found to be an effort to deliver some morbid sense of humor; and honestly some scenes were a bit too over-the-top. I saw this as a departure from the first two movies’ edgy, rough and scary tempo, but I guess Plaza wanted to do something different in this sequel. Zombie movies always rely on the formula of running around and close calls, as they are usually a practice of a chase-horror movie, and “Genesis” follows through. Plaza had a handle in pacing the scares and the thrills, as well as serving up a theme of ‘lost happiness’, but at is heart, I found that the film was more set to display gore and blood to generate horror thrills. There was a lot of blood and gore, and it came really close in allowing the screenplay to merely wallow in them. There are several intense moments, and I have to admit, the film can generate some drama, but the plotting and scripting weren’t as ambitious or as strong as the first two movies in the franchise.
“[REC] 3: Genesis” is a fun, entertaining film but it is the weakest one in the horror franchise. It offers little surprises, and while it does somewhat expand on the established groundwork of the first two movies, I felt that there really wasn’t any need to divert from that story (maybe Plaza‘s girlfriend playing the lead has something to do with this?). Paco Plaza’s latest installment in the popular Spanish horror franchise felt lacking and was a departure from the tempo and style that made the first two movies successful. “Genesis” felt more like a grind house horror movie, and while it was fun to watch, it lost the eminence that made the [REC] series stand apart from other zombie-horror movies of this kind.
Star Rating: I have not seen every zombie movie ever made, but I’m fairly sure there has never been one in which the zombies are stopped dead in their tracks (pardon the pun) simply by reading passages from the Bible. I’m not exactly sure how this works or what it implies, but if it’s this easy to stop an apocalypse of this nature, I say go for it. The sooner word spreads, the sooner the monotony of gory, violent, predictable zombie movies … more
Loved the [REC] Spanish horror franchise, but going on a prequel approach for the 3rd sequel seems a little risky after the climax of [REC] 2. Still, the filmamkers appear to know what they are doing, so I'll give this a look when it comes out.
The origins of the demonically possessed that inhabit the apartment building from the first two [REC] movies is explained in this prequel from director Paco Plaza, one of the two co-directors of the series. His twice over collaborator, Juame Balaguero, returns to helm [REC Apocalypse}, the conclusion to the first-person action horror franchise. ~ Jeremy Wheeler, Rovi