[REC] 3: Genesis movie review
You may remember the original [REC] in the form of its US remake, Quarantine. The Spanish language original and the remake were nearly identical in plot, style, and tone. Though, if you ask me, [REC] was a bit creepier, a bit more convincing, and because of that, the better movie overall. The sequel, [REC] 2, continued the story of a virus outbreak in a small apartment building. It followed a SWAT team as they retread the same locations mere minutes after the end of the first film. Clever twists and that same attention to convincingly creepy scares and creature effects made it another winner. [REC] 3 is something else entirely.
It seems series' director Paco Plaza wanted to get away from the "found footage" horror of the first two films in a big way. The opening scenes are portrayed through the lens of a cameraman at a wedding, but when the virus and zombies ruin everything, the camera is smashed and the found footage style dies with it. What follows is a cheesy B-horror/comedy with a chainsaw-wielding bride and a groom in shining armor. Yep...
Clara and Koldo are having the kind of epic wedding you only see in movies and terrible reality shows, but when the same virus that spread through the first two films bears its teeth, things quickly go sour. The only thing that holds together in the chaos is their love and the hope that they'll make it out together. That's about as serious as the drama gets, though, as the vast majority of [REC] 3 plays off of the silliness of its "zombies at a wedding" premise.
That's a pretty big leap in tone from one sequel to the next, and I don't think it's going to sit so well with a lot of people. The fact that the film goes out of its way to connect to the events of the first two films borders on self-destructive. Two grim horror movies and a silly horror/comedy are happening simultaneously in the same universe? It's a pill I was able to swallow, but only by ignoring the connections and enjoying [REC] 3 on its own terms.
If only the decision to go cheesy didn't feel so half-hearted. There are some genuinely great, ridiculous moments in [REC] 3, but it spends a bit too long taking itself too seriously and not enough time honing the comedy side of the equation. If you're going to completely jettison the tone established in the first two films, you better go full Army of Darkness or don't even bother.
The result of this departure is pretty much exactly what you'd expect. By removing the very elements that made the original films so special, [REC] 3 has a difficult time regaining its footing and turning into something worthwhile. The first films are some of the best the "found footage" genre has to offer, and tossing that out was probably a poor decision. That said, this ridiculous left turn of a movie still has some fun aspects. B-movie and horror comedy fans should give it a shot, [REC] fans may want to pass.