[REC]³ Génesis (2012)

[REC] and [REC]2 are fantastic films. Pure horror, genuinely scary and utterly utterly brutal. The characters are compelling and the story is fast-paced, claustrophobic and exciting. Naturally everyone was thrilled to hear about a third [REC] film coming out, moving away from the apartment block setting and throwing us into a wedding! So what should you expect? More shocks, invention and horrible surprises?

[REC]³ Génesis is  very competently made.

Is this a backhanded compliment? Probably. Where [REC] & [REC]2 have had praise heaped upon them from all sides, being called terrifying and exceptional and original and incredible, [REC]³ Génesis can be called competent.

Unfortunately that’s where the compliments end. [REC]³ Génesis joins that unenviable list of films that make potentially excellent trilogies a bit poo. It’s not abysmal but it’s eons away from being inspired. It’s just another zombie movie… and that’s one of those sentences that hurt when writing it. [REC]³ Génesis is just another zombie movie.

But what is [REC]³ Génesis about? Set at a wedding reception somewhere in Spain, the bride’s uncle has unfortunately been bitten by a dog… and brought the possession-disease from the first [REC] films with him. Cue panic, zombies, violence and one major problem; the bride and groom are split up, alive, and desperately want to find each other!

That’s the film. There’s no attempt to escape or fight back or work out what this disease it, it’s a simple case of ‘bride must find groom’. They meet characters along the way, including a slutty French girl, a children’s entertainer and a priest with some hypnotic oration, along with the usual cannon-fodder you’d expect at a wedding.

What went wrong? It’s hard to ascertain precisely. Perhaps the lack of Jaume Balagueró’s involvement is what really spun this film into this awful freefall.  Balagueró co-wrote and co-directed [REC] and [REC]2 so I’m a little suspicious his absence has been severely detrimental to the franchise.

[REC]³ Génesis has taken a more comical route and although not directly amusing, it is lighter than the previous two, giving an awkward uncertainty to it’s weird sense of humour. It is also pock-marked with genre clichés, which is incredibly unfortunate.

I think, perhaps, it was a foolish decision to move away from the ‘found footage’ style elements from the original [REC] films. It’s a bold decision, certainly, to ignore the successes of your previous films, but by doing so you’re left with a ‘normal zombie film’. And normal is perhaps the worst kind of zombie film you can make. For normal, read ‘forgettable’.

[REC]³ Génesis is fundamentally flawed on a number of levels; the locations seem utterly random and you never get a sense of place / time / scale, the zombies seem to act in a way that suits the story instead of [REC]’s pre-created mythos and our protagonists have so little personality / background that a side-character dressed as giant sponge becomes the most compelling character in the film!

I could spend the rest of the review tearing this film to shreds, but it feels disingenuous to do so considering writer / director Paco Plaza provided us with the original [REC] films. The worst thing? I enjoyed Quarantine 2 more than I did [REC]³ Génesis.

Ouch.

Saying that, [REC]³ Génesis is certainly enjoyable – the beginning is slick, John Sponge is hilarious fun and it’s wonderfully violent in places – but the lack of sense and abundance of clichés make it awkward viewing. Why use a chainsaw to tear a hole in a dress?!  I mean, really?

Overall [REC]³ Génesis is the ugly third in the [REC] trilogy. Utterly stand-alone, this could’ve been any zombie film and sits awkwardly within the franchise as a whole. It is very competently created but I doubt you’ll be re-watching this one any time soon….

Rating: ★★★★★☆☆☆☆☆

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