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Xavierpop Does @TADFilmFest – Louis Takes In The Gory And Fun Zombie Flick ‘[REC] 3: GENESIS’

[REC] 3: GENESIS is the third installment by writer and director Paco Plaza. While it fails as a continuation to the popular [REC] series, it still works as a zombie flick. The first two were dark, gritty and consisted of only handheld shots, while this latest installement is brightly lit with more than a touch of humor.  Moving out of the dark building at Rambla de Catalunya, 34 in Barcelona, Spain and into a lavishly set, very bright wedding, Plaza does much to break the tone and attutide of the first two film he and co-director Jaume Balagueró created.

The movie starts with a series of handheld shots of the wedding and reception of Clara (Leticia Dolera) and Koldo (Diego Martín), (oddly at some point during the reception, Plaza inexpicably switches completely to standard filming technique).  All seems rather normal and expected from both the service and guests until well into the reception something goes quite awry with one of the guests. It quickly spreads through the rest of the guests. The bride and groom are split apart, trying for the rest of the movie to both find one another and survive. There are some interesting plot elements as the lovers quite literally cross and re-cross one another moments apart several times.

While the first two relied on what was not seen, and the manic rush of events folding almost too fast, this relies more on gore and humor. While itself not bad, it does make the franchise move in a very different and unpredictable direction. Stylishly shot, with bright colors and effects, it also brings the Catholic possession idea more to the front than previous films. It skips the scares for slapstick. Rather than creeping in the dark, trying to avoid a rage induced killer, the film becomes a series of horror-comedy gags.  While occasionally suspenseful, it relies more on straight gore that has been done elsewhere far more frequently than was expected.

Some fans of the original will find the changes too removed from the original to enjoy this film, it’s not a bad, mid-range zombie flick. There are some good effects and ideas, (just watch for the bride with the chainsaw), but it’s neither original or unique enough to warrant inclusion in the [REC] series. This is the single biggest obstacle the film has, because by adding it to the series, it is judged by a criteria and standards created by the first two that the director, while part of the first two, completely abandoned in this next installment  Had it been named something else and not been a part of the franchise, it could have been judged simply on its own merits rather than against one of the best examples of the genre. It seems the building could have held more story, either after the events in the 2nd or before the 1st film.

As such, it is an enjoyable film. Fans of the zombie genre will find much to applaud, as it does have some good humor and gore. Good pacing, a fairly straight narrative, solid acting and edited, it shows Plaza has a good command of both the director’s chair and subtle satire. Mocking the saccharine sweet marriage of an upper-class couple, he rips into that world via the undead. The first third of the movie advances in a very conventional, almost boring way, but this only makes the destruction that much more harsh, or enjoyable. Plaza is playing into several assumptions about class, about the church, families and even government officials that work very well within the construct of this film.

Entertaining, gory and fun, fans of zombie flicks will find much to enjoy. Fans of the [REC] series will find this too far removed from the first two to be considered a proper sequal, but I recommend it to anyone who enjoys both horror films and zombie flicks.