REC 3: Genesis

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The wedding of Clara and Koldo should be a beautiful event, but when hell spawned zombies turn the wedding into a massacre the newlyweds are going to have to fight their way out if they want a honeymoon.

Little known fact, the undead don’t do church weddings, and no, it’s not because we can’t enter a church. There are zombies who attend church every Sunday in fact, or Saturday depending on their particular religious beliefs. Religious before death, religious after death, so entering a church isn’t an issue for us (might have to discuss this in Sunday’s Zombie Zoo). The main reason we don’t like to have weddings inside of a church is it feels kind of odd considering that’s where our funerals were not all that long ago, for most of us anyways. While it’s true that most of us didn’t attend our own funerals as we were up and about looking for a meal, family and friends still had their services for us, usually in a church. Should a pair of the undead choose to marry, which happens more than you’d believe, it seems wrong to start a new unlife together in the place where your old life was celebrated at its end. Besides, who wants to get married inside a stuffy old building when there are so many great outdoor locales, locales where a meal could easily be spotted for the wedding reception? There’s also the fact that whenever zombies have decided to have a church wedding, there is always some crazy priest who comes running out firing blindly thinking his church is being overrun before he realizes what’s going on and has to slink embarrassingly away. There is something about an embarrassed priest that is bound to ruin any wedding.

The third installment of the REC franchise begins with a short photo montage loaded up from a wedding video before we switch over to the wedding itself, where love birds Carla and Koldo are getting ready to begin their lives together. Koldo’s cousin Adrian is filming the event (it’s through his camera that we see everything) and goes to interview the groom before the wedding, coming up just as Koldo is talking with his Uncle Pepe who has a bad wound on his hand. It seems he was bitten by a dog he had believed to be dead (our link to the first two REC films) but could not miss his nephew’s wedding. The happy couple are married and everyone heads over to the wedding reception to celebrate the beginning of their life together. As day turns to night things start to get a little wild, so Adrian heads over to the children’s section to interview entertainer Sponge John (he can’t be called Sponge Bob for legal reasons) where he catches both Uncle Pepe throwing up (thinking him simply drunk) and a couple of men walking around in hazmat suits. Festivities continue long into the night and before long the “drunk” Uncle Pepe is seen rocking back and forth on a balcony ledge before crashing to the ground below. He looks to be dead, or at the very least knocked out, but when his wife goes to check on him he suddenly comes to and takes a chunk out of her neck. All hell breaks loose, and if it weren’t bad enough to have the zombified uncle attacking guests, two outside zombies burst through the windows and begin attacking as well. In the chaos of guests being either eaten or turned Clara and Koldo become separated, and Koldo ends up trapped in a kitchen with the still filming Adrian. Koldo becomes enraged and destroys Adrian’s camera, and here our film goes from a first person viewpoint to the more traditional third person view. Koldo refuses to give up on his new bride and will do anything he has to in order to get her back, a camera would just get in his way.

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{And Uncle Pepe looks so happy too}

If it weren’t for the nagging need I have to finish watching an entire franchise once I’ve started it I don’t think I would have checked this one out, not after the incredible disappointment that was REC 2. That movie was just so bad, but I can’t help myself, if I started a franchise then I’m watching every movie in said franchise. Then there was the fact that in my researching the film, I read about the transition between first person to third person view points, and remembering how the transition from one group of people to another in REC 2 destroyed the film, this made me even more worried about watching REC 3. Thankfully, while this film does suffer a few issues with the zombies, it’s not at all a bad film, and the transition is actually handled extremely well, so well in fact that it doesn’t affect the movie at all. The first twenty, twenty five minutes are filmed first person, mainly by Adrian, and resembles the style of the first two REC films, but once the action starts and the zombies begin massacring the wedding guests, Koldo destroys the camera being used. This leads directly to the title sequence, and when we come back, the view has switched over to the more standard third person. It was a flawless transition and I didn’t feel as though it disrupted the film in the slightest. Not only did adding the title sequence in between the switch help, but it was done at just the right time as well, after the intitial carnage but before the zombie side of the film really began. If anything the transition added a different level by getting you used to one point of view before forcing you to watch the rest in a different one.

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{Having a good looking woman go crazy with a chainsaw doesn’t hurt a film either…just saying}

The story for the third installment was refreshing as well. I was happy they didn’t stick with the apartment building for this one, going with an entirely new story instead. The amping up of the religious aspect was an interesting one for the film too. REC 3 is much more religious, the zombies can’t enter church, holy water burns them, their reflections reveal their true appearance, and a prayer can stop whole groups of them in their tracks. I thought it might throw the film off since the second film had a lot of religious subtext and that film was a disaster, but it works for this one. My only issue with it was that it seemed only vaguely connected to the first two, as if it was supposed to be a different movie originally and someone wanted this added to the REC franchise at the end. It’s still a fun story for a zombie flick, don’t get me wrong, but the connections felt forced. There are three main things that connect it, Uncle Pepe’s bite from a dog as it was a dog that alerted the Ministry of Health in the first film, a news broadcast of the quarantined apartment building shown in the background, and reflections of the Medeiros girl (the possessed little girl that started this whole mess) that show up in the reflections of the zombies. Then there’s the zombies who act much differently in this than they have in the previous two, but I have a few complaints when it comes to the zombies, so I’ll get to that later. I almost feel as though this would have been a better film if it had been a standalone zombie flick instead of a sequel. Still, it’s a minor gripe, but I would recommend that should you watch this, watch it as its own movie. I think it’ll be a better viewing experience for you.

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{At the very least you’ll smile more}

I think where this film shone the most was in the actors who did amazing jobs with their characters. Leticia Dolera (who actually hit the gym two months prior to prepare for her scenes) as Clara and Diego Martin as Koldo were easily among the best, really making you want their characters to succeed, but they were by far not the only great actors to grace this film. Ismael Martinez as Koldo’s horned up friend Rafa was a jerk, but he was a jerk that you could like, Alex Monner as Koldo’s cousin Adrian (the one filming everything for the first twenty minutes of the film) did a good job as a nervous youngster just wanting to impress his older cousin, and even very minor character Atun, played by Borja Glez. Santaolalla, was an interesting addition, playing the hired cameraman for the wedding (never do we see things from his camera though). I only wish he had been given a bigger part as I would have liked to see more of him. I think one of the things that shows how well all the actors did was in the fact that, even though it takes a good twenty minutes before things heat up, it never seemed boring nor did I ever find myself wishing they would hurry up and get to the good stuff. It’s just the filming of people acting like they normally act at weddings but I strangely enjoyed it. The actors managed to keep it interesting with their humorous conversations while a few incidents thrown in for that twenty minutes kept my attention such as the interview with Sponge John, Rafa trying his damndest to bang a French girl, and the attendees breaking out in song during the wedding. It seemed like a wedding video I would have enjoyed watching (unlike in the real world where you do anything you can to get out of having to watch the damn things).

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{You’ll find yourself really rooting for this pair to make it}

I think the film’s biggest downfall is in the zombies. A lot of my complaints come from two things, one, how they act in this movie vs. how the act in the previous two installments, and two, the inconsistencies in how they act. The makeup is amazing, easily some of the best I’ve seen in a zombie film, not only do the zombies look great, but the gore does as well, and expect a lot more of it than in previous installments. I also loved that the zombies look both a whole lot more demonic, and a whole lot more torn up. It added a level of fear to the movie to see zombies that looked like a bloody mess. The problem came in how they all acted. In the previous two films the zombies could sprint like marathon runners, but here they were more reminiscent of Romero zombies, slowly shambling around even if there was a person right there in front of them. I’m not sure why they suddenly couldn’t run, most of them at least. This is where the inconsistencies come into play. Occasionally a zombie will still be able to run, even jump ridiculous distances as in the case of the two zombies who crash the party at the beginning. Others though can’t go any faster than a drunk with two broken legs. Then there’s some that will smile or even act giddy while others keep a straight face and others snarl and snap. It brought it down for me that the zombies were very inconsistent in how they acted. They do come across more as undead than just infected which I liked, I just wish they had been similar across the board and not so different from zombie to zombie as they are all supposed to be manifestations of the same demon.

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{As you can see, design is not a problem at all}

I have one last thing I’d like to bring up. I was going to call it a complaint but it’s not, it doesn’t affect the movie in my opinion, but I can see where it might bother some. This is a Spanish film so unless you speak Spanish you’re going to need the subtitles. Unfortunately the subtitles don’t seem to translate everything for whatever reason. I’m not sure why but there are a lot of phrases that don’t translate at all, even with the subtitles turned on. Again, not a huge complaint as it doesn’t hurt the film at all, I just wish I’d been able to understand everything.

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{Luckily, I don’t think anything major went without translation}

Zombie complaints aside, this is still a good flick. I’d prefer it had been a standalone film instead of part of the REC franchise as I think most of my complaints would have been moot if that had been the case, but it’s still an enjoyable watch. Skip REC 2 and just watch this one if you ask me.

 

The Undead Review

 

Directed By: Paco Plaza (REC 1 and 2, Romasanta: The Werewolf)

Starring: Leticia Dolera (The Last Days, and Spanish Movie), Diego Martin (People in Places, I Want You), Ismael Martinez (Talk to Her, The Boarding School), and Alex Monner (The Red Band Society, The Wild Ones)

Released By: Filmax International, Canal+ Espana, and Ono

Release Year: 2012

Release Type: Limited Theatrical Release

MPAA Rating: Rated R

About The Undead Review

When I was alive I was an asshole and after I died remained pretty much the same, if not a little worse. You’d think becoming a member of the walking dead would mellow a person out, no more worrying about awkward small talk with people, no more having to be politically correct, and the entire world is your upright, bipedal buffet. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun as hell to be a zombie, just somewhat irritating at times, especially those times you have to watch a lame movie or read a lame book. Thankfully, when I am forced to watch these films or read those books, I’ve got places like The Undead Review to bitch and moan to my heart’s content. {When he’s not devouring the living or sinking his teeth into a good film The Undead Review (Andy Taylor) spends his time writing his own stories or hunting down the paranormal. Oh, and did we mention his blind dog once saved the world?)
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One Response to REC 3: Genesis

  1. subitolove says:

    Nice read! You may want to check out my review on The Grand Budapest Hotel ; )

    Like

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