I really like the [REC] series. Both the original and its sequel tell provocative, interesting zombie stories using the “found footage” model that prompts a claustrophobic intensity that works really well in zombie movies. As such, I was primed to like [REC]3: Genesis, which suggested a continuation of the story developed in the first two films. Sounds good.
And this third movie, which takes place at a wedding reception, is primed to be a great addition to the genre. Until the filmmakers blow it by giving up the one thing that made these movies really unique — the hand-held camera technique. Without that, this is a pretty good–but not great–zombie movie. A few thoughts (spoilers ahead):
- The story, development, and resolution of this as a standalone zombie movie is really solid. Had I gone into this without the expectations of its franchise riding on its back, I suspect I would have loved it.
- I continue to like the distinct zombie pathology and demonic mythology that shapes the creatures in this film. It provides a continued secondary line of defense that gives the humans who know what they’re doing an edge: most films don’t have anything other than the body of the zombie to contend with.
- The filmmakers developed one or two new bits of the story this time around. In particular, I loved that the mirrors reflect not the individuals infected as zombies, but the demons inside them.
- At the same time, this film continues the utterly bleak aspect of the series, which is that nobody is safe. But the mobile and relatively insecure nature of the space meant that the main characters kept picking up and losing red-shirts along the way. For a little while, I thought the children’s entertainer in the “Sponge John” costume might make it, but no such luck for him.
- This film uses more humor than the other [REC] movies have done, which maybe indicates why I didn’t love it as much as I loved the other films in the series — the tone shift makes the last act of the film too silly to fit my expectations.
There were several striking images in the film. First, we got a distinct nod to The Shining here:
Then there was the smiling zombie, which giggled a bit before the groom took it out with a hand-held blender:
Then, of course, you have the bride on a rampage:
Overall, enjoyable. If you haven’t seen the other films in the series, I bet you’ll like this a lot. If you have, give this one plenty of leeway to be its own thing.