Just when I thought all the life had been sucked out of the found footage genre, along comes the third part of the [REC] series to breathe new life back into it. While directors here in the U.S. seem ready, willing, and able to drive it into the ground (Chronicle, any of the Paranormal Activity films), leave it to Spain to bring us a third go-round of the [REC] series to keep us on our toes. We’ve even remade the original unsuccessfully with Quarantine and a direct-to-video sequel, Quarantine 2: Terminal. Now, co-writer/director Paco Plaza (along with co-writer Luiso Berdejo) returns to deliver more blood-drenched goods with [REC]³ Génesis.
In this installment of the soon-to-be four part series, we open on the wedding day of Clara (Leticia Dolera) and Koldo (Diego Martín). Cousin Adrián is capturing the arriving guests on his own HD camcorder and meets Atún (Borja Glez. Santaolalla), the professional videographer equipped with a Hollywood-style steady cam. Uncle Víctor (Emilio Mencheta) wishes Koldo good luck but not before being asked why his hand is bandaged up. Víctor explains he was bitten by a dog he thought was dead but assures Koldo that he is fine. Soon enough, the couple says “I do,” rice is tossed, the champagne is flowing, and Víctor turns out to be infected by the same outbreak from the first two films. Groups are split up – including the bride and groom – and now everyone must fend off the zombie attack while trying to find each other.
Some of the twists are far more obvious than others. Like, why else would they cut their wedding cake with a giant sword if it wasn’t going to become a weapon later on. But any horror movie with foreshadowing is welcome in my book any day. And Clara’s secret she shares with her sister is exactly what you suspect it to be. The acting is above average for any horror series on its third iteration. What else would we expect from a non-Hollywood production?
Plaza’s (along with co-writer Luiso Berdejo) neatest trick is that he isn’t actually making a found footage film at all. That’s all left behind and serves merely as an intro to the growling chainsaw, swinging mace, and severed limbs to follow. The blood flows freely and the film is surprisingly self-aware. Sometimes, though, the characters get stuck standing around thinking too much when you know what they’re going to do before they do it, making them look a little slower than they should be. Then again, any director who keeps his film at a slim and trim 80 minutes knows not to drag things out too long.
While it wasn’t released here in the States on Blu-ray, I can only imagine how much more fun it would be with all of the gruesome deaths displayed in full 1080p. Thankfully, the DVD looks pretty crisp and the Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 has some awesome directionality. The special features include 23 minutes of deleted scenes; all of which are more just extended/alternate takes. The funny part is that a few of them begin with the director calling, “Action!” Second, we get a slight group of outtakes of which only the last one was actually amusing. In the end, we may not be getting what we deserve out of the genre in theaters, but [REC]³ Génesis is worth a blind buy for fans of the genre when it’s released on November 6.
Photos courtesy Sony Pictures Home Entertainment