Today: February 23, 2024

REC 3: Genesis

Third installments of a franchise are a tough nut to crack.

Third installments of a franchise are a tough nut to
crack.
If part one was innovative, part two
went bigger and darker, where does that leave part three to go? The answer is invariably nowhere good. Think
about it. You can count on one
hand the genuinely good third installments in any franchise. But, for every Toy Story 3 or The Dark
Knight Rises
, there are an infinite number of part threes that fall flat,
fail to deliver and sully the previous two installments. The Godfather Part III and Spider-Man
3
being two prime offenders. So
where does REC 3: Genesis fit into
the pantheon of second sequels?

This time we’re
out of the block of flats of the first two films and off to the blissful and
expensive wedding of Clara (Leticia
Dolera
) and Koldo (Diego Martin). The regular wedding guest clichés are
all present and correct; the boisterous best friend, the videographer and the drunken
uncle. Except this drunken uncle
has recently been bitten by, what he thought was, a dead dog. Just as the festivities are hitting
full swing, said uncle takes a swan dive off the balcony and begins to tuck into
the fellow guests. With in-laws
munching on bridesmaids and chaos spreading, Clara and Koldo must battle the
ravenous undead to be together.

REC 3 starts with
promise. The wedding video premise
is more believable than the original film’s documentary crew following a fire
brigade around town. But having
set up all manner of clever tricks to get multiple sources of wedding ‘found
footage’ including a steadicam professional, REC 3 then kills it. Literally. After a brief first act intro, to all those operating the
cameras, we see the main one dropped on the floor as the little red light
slowly fades. And then we’re into
a normal film narrative. At this
point fans of the first two REC films will be holding their head in their
hands. It jars with the franchise foundations
to date.

It could still
have worked though. After all, the
premise is solid and we all love a good zombie flick. Except REC 3 isn’t a good zombie flick. It’s generic to the point of being
dull. It’s written with such broad
strokes it moves slower than one of the film’s zombies. Clearly the characters have never seen
a horror film, or specifically Scream,
as they wander off, uttering lines like; “You wait here, we’ll go see if it’s
safe”. Apparently Koldo and Clara
can sense each other, hence risking it all to find one another in the
mayhem. And the moment a pregnant
woman decides to fight on by touching her stomach is frankly insulting. What? None pregnant people give up on life?

What is perhaps more
frustrating is the potential on offer here. This wedding is not something you’d find Lars von Trier attending. It’s fun, it’s extravagant, it’s got
groomsmen copping off with bridesmaids, why not use that to flesh out (pun
intended) the plot? It’s even got an
ass kicking, blood spattered bride with a chainsaw and a groom in a suit of armour. But REC 3 blows it with a ridiculous
second act twist; these aren’t zombies, they’re fallen angels, possessing the
recently deceased. But Praise The
Lord! They can be pacified through a good old Bible reading. Why writer-director Paco Plaza, who co-wrote and co-directed
the first two films, felt the need for this unholy twist is anyone’s
guess. Failing to reach the
heights of the first two movies on plot, gore or decent scares, REC 3 feels
like a misguided straight-to-DVD affair.

Weddings can be
hell but if they’re this boring, then frankly till undeath us do part can’t
come soon enough.

Alex Moss Editor

Alex Moss’ obsession with film began the moment he witnessed the Alien burst forth from John Hurt’s stomach. It was perhaps ill-advised to witness this aged 6 but much like the beast within Hurt, he became infected by a parasite called ‘Movies’. Rarely away from his computer or a big screen, as he muses on Cinematic Deities, Alex is “more machine now than man. His mind is twisted and evil”. Email: alex.moss@filmjuice.com

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