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[REC] 3: Genesis (2012)

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A couple’s wedding day turns into a horrific event as some of the guests start showing signs of a strange illness.

REC 3: Genesis was this time directed solely by Paco Plaza, taking the unusual approach of Plaza doing this movie, and his REC 1 & 2 co-director Jaume Balagueró taking the reins on REC 4: Apocalypse which is due for a 2013 release. After watching REC 3, which I will now only refer to as Genesis (for reasons explained further down) I have now come to the conclusion that Jaume Balagueró may have been responsible for the more serious nature of the previous films in the franchise, as there is nothing serious going on in this movie.

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There is nothing to worry about spoiler wise here from the previous REC movies, as aside from a couple of brief mentions, Genesis is not the prequel fans were hoping for and has nothing really relating to the events in the apartment building; aside from zombies this could (and should in my opinion!) have been a totally separate entity along with other horror/comedy/zombie films, albeit a poorer version of Shaun of the Dead for example. Below is the plot the makers of the film offered up, and it sounded great!

In [REC] 3: Genesis the action now takes place miles away from the original location and partly in broad daylight, giving the film an entirely fresh yet disturbing new reality. The infection has left the building. In a clever twist that draws together the plots of the first two movies, this third part of the saga also works as a decoder to uncover information hidden in the first two films and leaves the door open for the final installment, the future [REC] 4: Apocalypse.

I didn’t happen to notice any clever twists or hidden information, but if you did please let me know in the comments section! Whilst it does indeed take place miles away from the first outbreak, Clara (Leticia Dolera – who British fans may recognise from ‘Mad Dogs’, a pretty average TV show that she was the best part of!) and Koldo (Diego Martin) are in the midst of an idyllic wedding day celebration when all hell breaks loose. Koldo’s uncle casually speaks of a bite he received on his hand at the vets (the first ‘tie-in’ to the events from the first film, the bite we assume coming from the dog at the vets the little girl mentions) and eventually Uncle Victor decides to fall off the side of the balcony and proceed to rip the flesh off his wife’s neck with his bare teeth. People panic, and in the confusion Clara and Koldo are separated, and the rest of Genesis sees them endure the madness and attempt to reunite by any means necessary.

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Keeping in line with the previous REC films, everything up until this point is shown through the eyes of Koldo’s cousin, who is shooting on a shaky video camera for the homemade movie. We also get to watch through the wedding videographer and see him gliding along with his smooth Steadicam and impressive sots. This worked well and was realistic, as they would be there and again I thought this is the third different way in all 3 films they have utilised showing us point of view cameras without it seeming implausible. Then the groom decides enough is enough and proceeds to break the cameras, which reverts to the film being shown for the rest of the duration in the usual cinematic style, and this is where the film takes itself out of the REC universe in my opinion.

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Plaza continues adding aspects of Catholicism as a means to fight off the horde, continuing the mythology introduced in [REC] 2, but overall I just felt this movie lacks the visceral sense of tension, danger, and unpredictability that was so palpable and terrifying in the previous REC films. In a pretty horrible moment (for me, I didn’t whether to laugh, cry or smash up my TV), the groom dons a suit of armour and charges at the zombies in the hope of finding his new wife. Combined with a ‘Sponge John’ character, like SpongeBob but no copyrights!, I just couldn’t help but laugh but not in a good way. It has been a while since I was so disappointed in something that I couldn’t wait to see. Maybe my issue was because I watched all 3 back to back, and was spoiled by parts 1 & 2. I don’t know, there is just so little to redeem this film.

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I’ll try to offer up a couple of positives I took away from Genesis then. At one point we see over someones shoulder a news report on the TV regarding the quarantine of an apartment block in central Barcelona, revealing that the events of this film are happening concurrently with the events of the first film. We also see some shots of the Medeiros girl in the mirror, kind of continuing what we learnt in REC 2. The bride, Clara, was brilliantly acted and was the only character I really cared about. A lot of characters were just killed really quickly and ineffectively, not giving us any chance to really connect with them, but Clara from the beginning was not only beautiful but a great character, just a shame she wasn’t given something better to work with.

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Sure, there are also some great death scenes, so for the gore hounds out there you will at least see some red stuff spilled. For me the poster is arguably the best bit about the movie and doesn’t lie, we do get to see the bride with a chainsaw. I just can’t give out too many positives about Genesis because it is meant to be part of the REC ‘world’ so I have to try and pass on my judgement along these lines. If this wasn’t related and was a simple fun zombie/wedding movie then great, it had enough stupidity and gore, good-looking people and a simple enough story line for a cheesy bit of fun. But it isn’t, it is supposedly a part 3 in the REC franchise, and offers nothing to enhance the great work laid out by the previous films and I really hope the negative back lash from this film doesn’t stop people checking out REC 4, as that picks up immediately after REC 2 with Angela and I hope that can rectify the mess that was Genesis.

4 stars

Please check out my previous REC reviews if you haven’t already, as those movies really do deserve to be seen!

REC / REC 2

Also, I thought I would include the plot for [REC] 4: Apocalypse to try and give us something to be hopeful for:

Angela Vidal, the young television reporter who entered the building with the fireman, manages to make it out alive. But what the soldiers don’t know is that she carries the seed of the strange infection. She is to be taken to a provisional quarantine facility, a high-security installation where she will have to stay in isolation for several days. An old oil tanker, miles off shore and surrounded by water on all sides, has been especially equipped for the quarantine.

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21 Comments

  1. theipc

     /  August 10, 2012

    This movie is fantastic and you know it. Stop hating! : ) Silence the violence! : )

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    • Your right, I’ll change my opinion to match yours! Seriously, I really can’t see what you saw to think it was fantastic, but I’m pleased it worked for you. I really really wanted to love it, maybe that was my issue. Roll on REC 4 🙂

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  2. If I have to stay up all night tonight, I am having this marathon, dammit! 😉

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  3. Victor De Leon

     /  August 14, 2012

    Well, we see eye to eye for the most part on this. With a few exceptions it was routine and redundant and the break in perspective was a damn head scratching annoyance to me. And the footage of the raids on the apartment building that played on the TV had me yearning for the missing intensity that those 2 movies had. Good review!

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    • Thanks Victor, nice to see we agree for the most part! Yeah I was so excited for this film, really disappointed but maybe as I said somewhere else on here my expectations were too high. It just didn’t have the look or feel of a Rec movie and that was such a shame in my opinion.

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  4. Nope, there wasn’t anything clever about [REC] 3 that tied the plots of the first two movies together. The connections that where there were weak and half-hearted attempts to make it appear to be a sequel to the [REC] franchise. The one element that initially served to create suspense and tip off the audience that something bad was going to happen was that Koldo’s uncle was bit by a dog that apparantly was at the same vet that the little girl’s dog was sent to in the first movie. But the uncle stopped being a threat once he turned into a demonic zombie. Instead of being a running, screaming monstrosity that quickly mowed down the wedding guests, we get an idiotic, slow moving zombie with a ridiculous smile on his face and blood dribbling down his chin that simply wandered about like a drunk.

    The small things that sort of tie this movie to the other two, such as the TV news report about the quarantine of the apartment block, and the brief shots of the men in hazmat suits during the evening of the wedding party, do very little in terms of plot, and have no meaning whatsoever to the characters in the movie. What’s that hazmat team doing over there? Eh. Who cares, let’s party! And that pretty much sums up the entire movie.

    The jarring POV shift aside, I think that the main problem with [REC] 3 is that Paco Plaza didn’t want to direct another [REC] movie. He was bored with doing the same old thing and wanted to create his own version of “Army of Darkness” and change the mood of the franchise. He didn’t like the serious high-octane chase scenes and immense dread that lead to great scares that the first two movies provided. Nope, he wanted to do a romantic splatterpunk horror comedy about a bride and her knight in shining armor. Unfortunately, this theme became literal when Kolodo dons the knight armor in the church and then runs out with a mace in hand to try and fight his way through the zombie horde.

    The end result of Plaza’s vision for the [REC] series is a terrible movie with slow, shuffling zombies that aren’t a real threat, and a love story that could have been a tragedy but wound up being a B-grade romantic horror comedy instead.

    I’m not sure about Jaume Balagueró and what he will do with [REC] 4, but I too suspect that his influence on the movies made them more serious, gritty and down to earth than Plaza’s vision of how the third installment of the series should be. At least, I hope that the next movie will be more like the first two. I’ll be sorely disappointed if it’s not.

    You can read Plaza’s interview where he discusses why he wanted to change the feel of the [REC] movies here:
    http://dailydead.com/exclusive-interview-rec-3-director-paco-plaza/

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    • Thanks for taking the time to post that! Glad you have the same issues with it that I did! I forgot to mention the slow shuffling zombies I think, but yeah just another example of the changes made for the worse. I just dont get why he would mess with such a winning formula and tarnish the franchise in this way. Thanks again Cassie 🙂

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      • You’re welcome! 🙂 It is unfathomable as to why Plaza wanted to change the tone of the series from serious horror to horror comedy. I even tried to look at [REC] 3 to see if I could appreciate it on its own merit as a movie that is separate from the [REC] franchise, and unfortunately, I can’t. Even if it weren’t related to the [REC] series, [REC] 3 still wouldn’t be a good movie. While many are lauding Plaza for changing the formula and being “daring,” I agree that changing the formula from found footage horror to traditional footage horror comedy was the worst thing to happen to the franchise.

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        • Yeah, I have no idea what he was thinking either. I just hope the negative feedback from the majority of fans doesn’t go unheard and the 4th film goes back to this serious tones.

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  5. theipc

     /  February 6, 2013

    There Mr. Poopy – I stumbled this up for you : )

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