November 14, 2012

[REC] 3: Genesis (2012)

Directed by Paco Plaza. Starring Leticia Dolera ("Clara"), Diego Martín ("Koldo"), Àlex Monner ("Adrian"), and Ismael Martínez ("Rafa"). Rated R. Body Count: Exact number unknown; 15 on-screen kills, a suicide, dozens of wedding guests, and a bus full of children.

Source: Region 1 DVD (Sony Pictures)
Running time: 01:20:14
Country: Spain

The [REC] films have been a staple of the found-footage sub-genre, the most widely embraced series of horror films in recent years, and Spain's biggest horror exports in a long time. Granted it's only a trilogy at this point and it's argubaly too early to call the [REC] films a "series", but still. This entry, though, stands out from its predecessors, namely because of a certain visual choice, the setting, and how it strays from the virus outbreak angle of the first two films and goes in a more supernatural route that was sort of hinted at in the previous ones. Had it not been direted by one half of the team that brought us the first two movies, one could even make the case that [REC] 3 is a blatant cash-in. That being said, it's kinda like the HALLOWEEN III of the [REC] series, in that the same people are involved and it's similar in some ways, but it's also a different beast.

The film is set at a wedding and the subsequent after-party. The footage we see is shot by various people who are attending the wedding, and the multiple cameras are justified by the fact that the couple who's getting married really went out of their way to have the most extravagant and memorable wedding as possible, which meant hiring a legit camera man who keeps beating you over the head with the term "Cinema Veritee" and having random relatives walk around with digital camcorders. We as viewers are aware of an impending outbreak of demons/zombies, so it's just a matter of waiting. That said, the first twenty minutes of [REC] 3 is an obnoxious wedding video that belongs to people you don't know. From there, someone suddenly becomes infected/possessed/whatever and all Hell breaks loose. It's at this point that the a certain signature of the [REC] series is dropped and, ironically, shit gets "real". The sudden change I'm alluding to is jarring at first but ultimately kind of brilliant in how it's executed.

Once the initial zombie/demon outbreak ensues, it triggers a chain reaction of bloodshed and more outbreaks. During the chaos, the bride and groom (Clara and Koldo respectively) are split up into different groups who proceed to fight for their lives amidst the demonic massacre. The two leads are subsequently driven not just by survival but by their need to find each other, which adds an emotional element to the film. On top of that, Clara is pregnant and was on the verge of breaking the news to her husband before the shit hit the fan.

Something I wasn't expecting with [REC] 3 was the humor. I like horror-comedies as much as anyone else, but the horror and comedy in this movie aren't balanced well. The jokes and self-referential humor are good for a laugh but get really old after a while. At one point there's a guy running around in a bootleg SpongeBob costume, and there are also characters who wear suits of armor and arm themselves with medieval weaponry; as random as they sound, they're all justified and make sense, but it doesn't change the fact that they're not very funny and lessen the emotional impact of the film's more serious moments.

For the most part, I quite enjoyed [REC] 3. I like the previous films as well, especially the first, but I'm not one of those horror fans who salivates for them and I don't hold them in a particularly high regard. The change in visuals and style don't bother me at all, and neither do the inconsistencies of the zombie/demon elements, but those things could be distracting for some people because of reasons I touched on earlier. Like most other people who have seen and reviewed this, I think it's pretty good for what it is but it's hard to accept it as a [REC] movie per se. Lead actress Leticia Dolera is great and has an amazing face and big eyes that allow for plenty of good reaction shots. The imagery throughout is great as well, and the shots of Clara in her torn up wedding dress and carrying a chainsaw have the potential to be iconic (if they were in a different movie), and one thing you can never take away from this film is that it delivers over-the-top gore in spades.

Score: 7


  1. Enjoyable review as always, Aaron. I think [REC]3 is worth taking into consideration as a 'link' movie between [REC]2 and the upcoming [REC]4 Apocalypse (that "sudden change" that you allude to for instance). Totally agree on the humour and the getting old quickness of it but I really think this is a filler movie in the series with [REC]4 (being directed solo by Jaume Balagueró, the other half of the duo behind the first two movies) picking up where [REC]2 ended and I think as such they decided to have fun with [REC]3. Maybe when we look back on the series post [REC]4 we'll go "Aha, so that's why that was in there."

  2. Someone I know mentioned something about Jaume Balaguero doing his own [REC] movie, but I honestly hadn't even looked into it to find out the details. Makes sense that it would be a filler film rather than it taking the series in an odd new direction. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  3. Great review as always. Echoes my thoughts on the film for the most part. As much as I enjoyed it I wish there was at least a passing reference to the series' main story arc, especially since 2 ended in such a cliffhanger. Rec 4 is supposed to have Angela Vidal's character in some sort of CDC facility to end the series out, so we'll see where it goes. All in all I think 3 was a really fun time.

  4. Thanks! The more I hear about [REC] 4, the more excited I am to see it. As much as I liked Leticia Dolera in this, I also miss Angela Vidal and am glad she'll supposedly be turning up again.

  5. Great review; I think this is going to count as a series since [REC] 4 is soon to be released. I really enjoyed the first two [REC] movies, and they are much better than the American versions. I have a long weekend coming up from my job at DISH. I don’t mind the cheesy humor in these films as it reminds me a lot of ‘The Evil Dead’ movies. I added this movie to my Blockbuster @home account through DISH, it is at the top of my list, and I will pick this movie up from the store instead waiting for it in the mail when my shift ends. I can’t wait to check this movie out, and I’m sure it won’t be a disappointment at all to watch.