Length: 80 minutes
Release Date: September 7, 2012
Directed by: Paco Plaza
Stars: 3 out of 5
Horror films are a dime a dozen, but “[REC] 3: Genesis” hopes to turn the genre on its head. Given the success of the earlier two films, this might just accomplish that. “[REC]” was such a hit in its native Spain that Sony immediately bought the rights to the movies, even though it was played in theaters. The studio blocked the film’s release in the United States until it released its own remake of the film. Both “[REC]” and its sequel used found footage, which the American films also used. “[REC] 3: Genesis” hopes to do something different by reducing the found footage shots.
The film opens with Koldo (Diego Martin) and Clara (Leticia Dolera) on the day of their wedding. The film uses a few camera angles and filming techniques that give these scenes a realistic touch. Cameras and cell phones film some of the early moments, while wedding guest Adrian (Alex Monner) serves as their wedding photographer.
When Adrian turns the camera onto his uncle, the film finally gets going. The uncle casually mentions being bit by an animal, which the guests think is normal. Everything that happens after the moment is unexpected and far from normal. After the uncle falls from the balcony above the wedding reception, the guests suddenly turn against each other, releasing blood and gore in a new and refreshing way.
Those who saw the previous “[REC]” films know exactly what to expect from this one. A plucky band of survivors must battle together in a quarantined zone, trying to escape an infection before it overtakes them. The beautiful thing about this film is that it adds a romantic edge that the other films lacked. Koldo and Clara are the classic newlyweds, ready to share their happiness with their loved ones. The two actors share amazing chemistry, letting the viewers believe them as a young couple in love.
Director Paco Plaza stepped behind the camera for the two earlier films, and many fans found the second film lacking. “[REC] 3: Genesis” plays like his apology letter to fans of the original, letting the viewers know that he listened to their complaints. The blood and gore just keep coming throughout the film, keeping viewers entertained and disgusted at the same time.
The film does take a while to get going, but the early scenes are worth the later payouts. The early moments set up the relationship between the newly married couple and those who attended their wedding. This lets viewers form a connection to many of the characters, which Plaza later rips apart. When those same characters began dying and get bitten by the infected, viewers will actually feel upset.
Plaza created the film for those who loved the original, following the same formula that made it such a success. From the moment that the uncle characters step into view, diehard fans know that something bad will happen. The film also does a smart job of leaving behind minor clues and details in previous scenes. Eagle-eye viewers might know where those moments lead, but casual fans will eagerly await the next move of the characters.
The first “[REC]” film focused primarily on one character and her interactions with others. This film expands the universe to multiple characters, adding more intrigue and drama to the story. When Clara and Koldo get separated, viewers will want them to find a way back to each other. By separating his two leads, Plaza gets the chance to introduce new characters and create two separate stories.
Critics dismiss the found footage genre, but “[REC] 3: Genesis” shows that there are some directors who can do the genre justice. Plaza created a taunt and tension-filled film that will have viewers sitting on the edges of their seats. Some scenes take the point of view of the characters using digital cameras and cell phones, while other scenes use professional cameras that add clarity to the scenes. Plaza knows exactly when to use each type of camera, which is a refreshing thing in lieu of recent films.
“[REC] 3: Genesis” straddles the line between a horror film and a thriller. While the film does have a number of scares, the moments leading up to those scares are just as suspenseful. This is the type of movie that some viewers watch with one hand over their eyes. After watching this film, some fans might wonder why other directors have such a hard time making a horror sequel. While it doesn’t surpass the magic of the first film, “[REC] 3: Genesis” is a strong standalone film.