Rec 3: Genesis (2012)
All is good with the world!! The other day I watched Pascal Laugier’s new film, THE TALL MAN, and last night I watched Paco Plaza’s REC 3: GENESIS. As the title suggests, this is the third outing in the REC franchise and I was both eager and hesitant for part three to drop. Eager because I wanted to see where the franchise would go next, and hesitant because I absolutely loved part two and was worried they couldn’t match the energy, gore, and overall kickass-ness of it (is that a word?). So, is REC 3: GENESIS a worthy follow up to the previous two entries?
The main difference with REC 3 is that Plaza is working solo here. Plaza’s REC 1 and 2 partner, Jaume Balagueró, sat this one out and will (supposedly) be helming the fourth and final REC film, REC 4: APOCALYPSE. Last year when news dropped about the third and fourth REC films being divided up by their creators, we were led to believe that part three, “Genesis,” would delve into the origin of the plague and the final installment, “Apocalypse,” would show the disastrous global effects of the plague. But that’s not exactly what we get with GENESIS. The story here revolves around the beautiful Clara (Leticia Dolera) and Koldo (Diego Martin) on the most important and special day of their lives — their wedding day. What starts out as one of their best days quickly devolves into a shit storm of blood, gore, and abject survival as the infection we’ve all come to know and love spreads throughout the wedding party quicker than the Bride’s Maid’s legs!!
During the long pre-credit opening we meet the bride and groom and the rest of the main cast. During this time everyone’s having a great time, mingling, drinking, and just generally having a good time. In a key exchange that could easily be missed, Uncle Victor (Emilio Mencheta), who’s walking around like the cock of the walk, has his hand bandaged up. Koldo asks his what happened and Victor tells him he was at the pound when he was bitten by a dog “that looked like it was dead.” Yes, old Uncle Victor is patient zero for the infection which he most generously spreads to every and anyone he can get his teeth into.
The entire pre-credit sequence was shot in POV/cinema verité style, of the wedding videographer and a kid with a video recorder. But as soon as the opening credits are over, the filming style switches to a traditional-shot film. I liked this touch and felt it stayed true to the spirit of the REC franchise. The first film was shot POV-style by a documentarian who’s following around the fire department. The second one is shot from the perspective of the SWAT team sent into the quarantined building. These scenarios made sense that the camera would keep rolling even in the face of danger, but in the third outing it would have been silly to think that some kid with a video camera would continue filming after the shit hit the fan and his life was in danger. Nice touch.
During the early stages of the outbreak during the wedding reception, Clara and Koldo get separated. So part of the plot is about survival and part is about the two newlyweds finding each other. The two find themselves in all kinds of hairy situations, from claustrophobic tunnels to wide open fields; nowhere is safe.
REC 3: GENESIS really doesn’t do much to explain the origins of the virus/infection. We know Victor was bit by a dog he thought looked dead, but how did this seemingly rabies-based infection morph into a religious plague? This is never explained and I was disappointed that an explanation was never offered. “Genesis,” it turns out, doesn’t refer to the fact that part three is going to be an origin story; “Genesis” refers to the first book in the bible (that’s all I’ll say so as not to give too much away).
But where REC 3: GENESIS fails in filling us in on the origin of the plague/infection, it excels at in energy and overall badass-ness (again; is that a word?). Both Koldo and Clara become serious zombie ass-kickers (I know, I know … they really aren’t zombies) and when Clara uses her chainsaw to cut away part of her wedding dress for more mobility, well I instantly fell in love. We get lots of violence and gore in the second half of the film and if you enjoy seeing people split in two right down the middle, then you’re in luck. There’s also no safety for any of the characters. It gets established pretty early on that anyone can die at any time.
REC 3: GENESIS is overall a really fun film. There aren’t too many scares in it like REC 2, but it has a really fun energy, great performances, and really juicy gore. I was definitely disappointed with a lack of explanation as to how the infection began and then transformed into a religious plague, but I found myself having way too much fun to linger on this point. REC 3 is a standalone film in the franchise that doesn’t have too much originality or do much to progress the series, but is simply a really fun entry. Recommended for sure.
Director: Paco Plaza
Plot: 3 out of 5 stars
Gore: 7 out of 10 skulls
Zombie Mayhem: 0 out of 5 brains
Reviewed by Scott Shoyer