September 2, 2012

Filthy Review - '[REC]3: Genesis'

[REC]3 Genesis (2012)

Review by Jude Felton

With the first two [REC] movies, which were released in 2007 and 2009 respectively, the writing and directing team of Paco Plaza and Jaume Balguero put a fresh new take on the undead genre. Set in an apartment building, creating a tense and claustrophobic atmosphere, the camera thrust the viewer deep into the heart of the action. Now, I wasn’t too enamored with the direction that Part 2 ended up taking towards the latter stages, but I still list them as two of my favorite, and best, zombie flicks to come along in many years.

With the 3rd entry to the franchise the team of Plaza and Balaguero have split up, but only so that they could make the 3rd and 4th films without taking another five or six years to complete them. Genesis was written and directed by Plaza, and I will tell you right now that it will undoubtedly piss off a few diehard [REC] fans. The tone and style of this entry is a bold departure from the first two flicks, although for the first 20 minutes or so you might be forgiven for thinking otherwise. Personally, I think that this film does work, for the most part, and quite frankly I have had enough of that blasted apartment building. Let’s move on ok?

Genesis is set in and around the wedding of Clara and Koldo, and starts off as a home video affair, following as it does the antics that accompany most weddings. Most weddings don’t feature the bloodthirsty undead though and, after a protracted opening scene, this is exactly what happens. The film itself changes gear, style and tone dramatically as Clara and Koldo become separated and mucho carnage ensues.

For this movie, Plaza has taken the core elements of the first two films, the infection and subsequent zombies, and shifted them into a totally different movie. In fact the connection between this film and the previous two is almost lost. I say almost, with only the religious aspect of the second film being the only real link that I could see. That’s not to say I had a real problem with it, but there is the chance that it may alienate some fans.

What we do get instead, is an over the top bloodbath, complete with chainsaw mutilation, plenty of fleshing tearing and a good healthy supply of claret. When the blood does start to flow it rarely stops, and it surprised even me on how gory the film sometimes gets.

Plaza seems to relish in this departure of style and tone though, and at times Genesis plays out like an action-packed black comedy complete with ass-kicking bride and comedy foil groom. Fortunately the comedy, or should I say more humorous elements are just about kept in check before the film runs away into complete fantasy, which would remove the fear and paranoia the first two films so successfully built up.

[REC]3 is a brave departure though, and it is also a pretty damned enjoyable movie. It’s certainly a movie that should be approached with an open mind, and the acceptance that you aren’t going to be watching Part 1 or 2 again. Because of this your enjoyment of the film will pretty much be gauged on whether or not you can live with the change of style. I liked it a lot; not as much as the 2nd film, but a lot more than most zombie films out there.

When [REC]4 Apocalypse arrives I would like to see Balaguero try to get back to the dark atmosphere of the first two movies, whilst still pushing the series forward as this one has. The dark tone is what, for me, helps set this series apart and although Genesis is a dark and very violent movie, it is also at its core a love story with a shitload of blood, guts and zombies.

Overall I would say that [REC]3 is definitely a success. Like I said, it will upset some, but then there are going to be those that love it. I say strap on your goggles, strike up your chainsaw and wade into the carnage. For the first time in this franchise the key word to the movie is fun, and this is damned good fun!

[REC]3 Genesis is released on Blu-ray and DVD in the UK on September 3rd by eOne.

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