The less expectations you have for [REC]³ Génesis based on the previous installments, the more you will appreciate this film.
There's been quite a bit of hate going around for the latest chapter of the series that both Paco Plaza and Jaume Balagueró first introduced to us back in 2007 and that's kind of a shame. Because, on its own merits, this new film boasts quite an entertaining ride.
Plaza is pretty much on his own with this third entry, as he directs and writes a good portion of the screenplay. He actually does a really good job and proves to be a fine technical director, as he is an integral part of the notorious duo.
[REC]³ opens with what is meant to be the wedding video of Koldo and Clara that's already been edited with a chapter menu, despite still being filmed by Koldo's younger cousin, Adrián, and a wedding filmmaker (hilariously from Filmax) named Atún. The "cinéma vérité" style of filmmaking that made the series so great is employed here, only in the first moments of the film. It's not long before they drop the entire found footage technique in favor of traditional story telling. The way that the film transitions from found footage to regular camera work feels kinda like a statement. Almost as if Plaza is winking at you from the other side of the camera and asking you to join him in something much more fresh.
Sadly, that would've been much more effective if it were, indeed, fresh and not already part of a unique and beloved genre series.
Anyway, the couple are getting married, there's an uncle who reveals that he got bitten by a deadish infected dog and all hell ensues. Speaking of the couple, Koldo is played by a really likeable Diego Martín as he plays him with a relatable charm that allows you to feel for the character and get behind him especially in the crucial moments when the film calls for the audience to embrace his actions. His bride, Clara is played by the striking Leticia Dolera.
A word on Leticia Dolera. She is awesome. The perfect balance of non-traditional beauty and reluctant hero in the film. It's as much in her eyes as it is in her screen presence. Her performance transcends that of the traditional "final girl" and becomes something much more. It is also important to note that she may very well be returning for the fourth installment in the series as revealed in a twitter discussion found here (for the bilingual readers in the house). Leticia Dolera is the best thing in the film.
Perhaps it may be because I just sat through the terrible film The Apparition over the weekend that has me expressing my fondness over this movie, but I would say that [REC]³ ranks among the best traditional genre films of the year. It has everything a horror lover could want. Well, mostly everything. Great direction, amazing gore, stand out performances (including a hilarious spin on the Sponge Bob character), and it is just pure fun. I can't imagine a genre fan having any issues with the film.
In fact, the only real problem with the film lies in the direct involvement with the other [REC] films. Had it been its own entity, it would've served much better and become more liked. It even attempts to tie in elements of the other films in a sort of "by the way" kind of reveal here and there.
Still, I enjoyed the film for what it was and nothing more. I didn't go into the film expecting to be wowed on the same level of the other films in the series. I read somewhere that Plaza just wanted to fuck around and create something completely different with this particular entry. However, that begs the question...why not just make something entirely different and call it something else, rather than an extension of an otherwise brilliant series of films. I'm sure the fourth chapter will set things back on course and this one will just be a forgotten experiment in the annals of cinema. Which is a shame, considering how it is actually a pretty good film.
[REC]³ Génesis is available on VOD and Apple iTunes for a hefty price. It will also make a limited run at the box office. If you have HDNET Movies, you can find it airing for one night only in the first week of September. I would recommend this film to you, my dear reader, only on the circumstance that you do not go into it expecting to have your mind blown on the same level as the other [REC] films and pretend that the film is actually called Demon Wedding.
Paco Plaza gets to go home to this...
Thanks for reading,