Friday, October 11, 2013

[REC]³: Genesis

I know that [REC]³: Genesis has been out for a while now. I just noticed that it was available on Netflix streaming so I decided to check it out regardless of my feelings toward the original film (I wasn’t a huge fan of it). I have never seen the second, but since part 3 is unrelated to the previous entries I convinced myself to give it a go.

During Clara (Leticia Dolera) and Koldo’s (Diego Martín) wedding a deadly plague begins to spread through the guests that turns them into violent zombie-like creatures.
This Spanish horror series, which began as a typical found footage flick about a television reporter trapped inside an apartment complex where a rabies-like virus begins to turn everyone into zombies, has not only spawned a number of sequels, but also an American remake (Quarantine) with a sequel of its own. There’s even a fourth movie ([REC]4: Apocalypse) being made right now in Spain that will continue the storyline from the first two films. I think it’s safe to assume that these flicks are popular.

This third film begins like the others in the found footage style. Wedding guests film the pre-ceremony events with cell phones and handicams, even a professional filmmaker (with a convenient steadicam rig) was hired to shoot the extravagant reception. We meet the happy couple-to-be via these types of scenes and are introduced to the other major players over the first twenty or so minutes. But once the plague breaks out the movie switches over to a standard film style and abandons the handheld camcorders altogether. It’s at this point that the film completely lost me. I didn’t realize just how much the handheld found footage style added to the spookiness and atmosphere of these types of flicks until it was completely stripped away. Once the story begins to be told via conventional means I found the events silly and cheesy beyond belief. The serious nature of the first two entries went AWOL and a sort of Evil Dead 2 horror/comedy aspect kicked in and curdled this mofo like a glass of milk in the hot sun.
Director Paco Plaza, who co-directed the first two films with Jaume Balagueró, seems completely lost without the support of his compatriot. His style, while effective for the found footage scenes, goes completely down the toilet and into CW soap opera territory once the style switches over. He cannot wring one single ounce of scariness from the script he co-wrote with Luiso Berdejo and his actors are hammy and unconvincing in the extreme due to his choices. As much as I dislike found footage as a sub-genre, for some reason it would have given the events of this film some sort of immediacy and wouldn’t have been presented such a boring and pedestrian way. It could also have been that the screenplay completely sucks.

The two leads, Leticia Dolera and Diego Martín, have zero chemistry and act like they are in a completely different movie. It’s almost as I they were told they were in Bride Wars, only with zombies thrown in instead of Kate Hudson. Virtually all the performances made me think I was watching a Spanish language sitcom that was drenched in blood.
The gore is the only saving grace. It’s ridiculous and over the top, but it’s the one thing that’s consistent. There’s plenty of eviscerations, beheadings, people getting split in half and more. Some of it is somewhat comical, but at least it gave the gore fans what they expect when it comes to a movie like this.

I’ve seen plenty of found footage flicks, zombie flicks and horror flicks, both of the serious and comic variety. This is pretty bottom of the barrel. Nothing really works, the unwelcome comedy falls flat, the characters are one note and mildly annoying and when the finale kicked in I didn’t give two shits about anyone involved or the poor attempts at high drama being displayed. This flick makes the tedious and worthless Paranormal Activity series look like Jaws in comparison.

1 out of 5

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