[Rec] (2007) and [Rec] 2 (2009) are two of my absolute favourite films of all time; they genuinely are masterpieces of the horror genre, and, to an extent, cinema itself because they intertwine so seamlessly. After having watched the third instalment, I can safely say that I haven’t been so disappointed with a franchise addition since X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009).
[Rec] 3: Genesis (2012) very loosely continues on and sees the “infection” spread far from the apartment building in Barcelona. The film takes place on the wedding day of Clara and Koldo which, in itself, seemed lovely; however the reception is gate-crashed by a horde of bloodthirsty demon pseudo-zombies. In the confusion of getting to safety the newlyweds are separated and spend the night trying to locate each other.
Part of the reason the first two movies made such an impact on me is that they were “found-footage” style, which I am very fond of, and the first twenty minutes of [Rec] 3: Genesis is also filmed that same way. But despite the fact that there are two characters in possession of cameras, we are removed from the first person perspective as soon as it becomes clear that the wedding presents will certainly be going to waste.
Here is our first proper full screen title card of the franchise as well as the introduction of the score. Sadly, however, the window through which these new elements clambered in was left open and all the things that were gritty, and real, and terrifying, and atmospheric, and character building – all the nuances and innovative narrative, all the subtle background noises and the claustrophobic sense of constant dread from the first two films – must have defied one of the main rules of horror and stood with their back against that same window because the predictable, fake, blood-splattered claws of Hollywood reached in, grabbed them from behind and violently wrenched them out.
Due, in part I believe, to the fact that this would be the first of the franchise to be distributed and exhibited in the US, the result is nothing more than a generic “zombie” invasion film with all the stale references to previous zombie movies pointlessly and awkwardly crowbarred in with all the subtlety of a lawnmower to the face.
When DØd SnØ (2009) introduced a chainsaw to the narrative, it worked because it was used for a purpose, and was discovered in a tool shed; when [Rec] 3: Genesis did the same, it didn’t work because it was absurdly found in a sewer, used for one pose and a few “zombie” kills and was discarded again moments later. The only purpose it seemed to have was for Paco Plaza to acknowledge that to suddenly have his face appear on screen winking and saying “Hey guys, I’ve seen the Evil Dead series too!” would be vulgar.
Any character that seems even the slightest bit interesting never gets the chance to be expanded on and there is a really bizarre thin comedic mist hanging over the whole film; every now and then there will be odd cartoonish reactions and visual gags (like the camp uncle zombie that pops up every so often) that just obliterate any intensity that has been built up (although when you consider how some other films like Insidious (2010) manage to build tension so high it towers over the audience, [Rec] 3 is barely more than a game of Jenga).
The entire movie could have been saved by the female lead, Leticia Dolera who plays Clara, the bride. If anything [Rec] 3 could have gotten away with a lot of its undoings if they had utilised her and given us a strong female lead (which I very much look for in all movies). Dolera seemed to be up to the task but she wasn’t really given many chances to exhibit any form of “badassery.”
The film could have worked just as easily had they switched the roles of the male and female, and had the male lead fill the role of the helpless victim; but there was no such modern thinking here. [Rec] 3: Genesis has rather a large legacy to live up to and it is with deepest regret that I inform you that it not only doesn’t do so, it would almost seem detrimental if the first and second instalments weren’t so fantastic.
Matt Cazwell has studied film for a number of years now, He grew up watching The Lion King endlessly on repeat and branched out from there. He wants to prove that silly comedies and tacky horrors are just as emotionally valid as tragic dramas and Oscar winning thrillers.
[Rec] 3: Genesis (2012)
Director Paco Plaza
Runtime 80 Minutes