The third film in the REC series abandons the run-down slum of an apartment building that served as the setting for the first two, in favor banquette hall decked out for a wedding reception.
It’s an inherently lighter setting that shifts the tone of the series a little; but in a good way.
REC has the basic structure of a zombie film. The ‘zombies’ are actually people possessed by demons; but the effect is largely the same: mindless hordes eating people. In the second REC, the demon aspect was dialed up considerably, to the point that the zombies started talking all Exorcist-demon-like. It detracted from the grittiness of the original. REC 3, which is taking place at the same time as the first two (which we learn thanks to a conveniently placed TV), reverts mostly to the animalistic zombies of the first film; but with a vampiric aversion to religious iconography. It’s a good balance that keeps the monsters scary while still setting them apart from other films in this genre.
Another notable change this time around is that this film drops (for the most part) the found-footage format. The first twenty minutes are made up of hand-held camera footage of the wedding and reception; but once the demons attack, we switch to a traditional camera set up. In the first two films, the character holding the camera justified it by saying that ‘people have a right to know.’ The camera man makes the same argument in this one, but it doesn’t play quite as well. Both formats have their value; the found-footage can be more visceral, and the point-of-view composition works great in a movie that relies on monsters jumping out from around corners. But it also gets old, and normal cinematography allows for a much greater range of angles and views.
This film is also much less gritty than the previous two. It’s not comedic; but there is a sense that there’s light and hope in the world which is notably absent from the first two. The main story arc of the film is the newly married couple; Koldo (Diego Martin, who looks like a thinner Colin Firth) and Clara (Leticia Dolera, who is freakishly beautiful) trying to find each other. Dolera in particular is a great actor, who convincingly sells this character whose blind determination overcomes her shock and fear. At one point, Koldo finds and puts on a suit of armor. It makes sense in the context of the film; but you can’t help but laugh we you first see it.
As with the first two films, we have a rather diverse cast. The standouts are John Sponge, a childrens’ entertainer who kind of thrives in this new situation; and Natalie, the slutty French girl that has a great exchange with Clara in one of my favorite scenes.
[REC] 3: Genesis lost some of the things that made the series unique, but in changing the format, it also shot some new life into the arm of a franchise that had gotten bloated by mythology. Despite being a little lighter, the third REC is still a visceral, gory, oppressive, and action-packed experience.
The audio and video on this Blu Ray from EOne are great (save the found footage at the beginning). Audio is presented in both the original Spanish and French, with removable English subtitles. Extras include outtakes (which aren’t that great) and deleted scenes (mostly of the wedding; so it’s good they were deleted).