REC 4: Apocalypse

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The quarantined building holding back the zombie menace has been destroyed along with all those left inside with the exception of a rescued, and possibly still possessed, Angela Vidal, but when Angela wakes up in a research lab it’s up to a group of scientists to determine is she’s still a host or if something more sinister is in the works.

You’ll never catch this zombie aboard a boat, at least not one in the ocean. You might be able to convince me to get on a little rowboat for a trip to the middle of a lake, but you will never get me out in the ocean, not a chance. Why? Because there’s no escape if something goes wrong, and I sure as hell don’t want to swim back to shore. Sure, there’s those little life boats but what’s the chance you’ll get on one of those? I was at a Starbucks that ran out of creamer once and the ensuing panic killed four people. This is a boat going down, so I’d imagine the panic is going to be a whole lot worse (imagine if the boat was going down after they ran out of creamer…gasp). I didn’t like swimming when I was among the living just because I hated that pruning stuff that happens to your skin, being dead it’s so much worse. Corpses bloat up like mad in the water and just because this particular corpse hasn’t stopped moving doesn’t mean I don’t do the same. I’d make it to shore looking like that little blueberry girl in Willy Wonka. Screw that. No, I’ll just drive if I ever have to make it across the ocean…

Anyhow, the fourth and final installment of the REC franchise starts out in the quarantined apartment building from REC 1 and 2 with four soldiers moving through and placing charges to bring the building down, hopefully killing all the zombies inside at the same time. Before they can leave, a woman is heard screaming for help upstairs, the woman being a possessed Angela Vidal, who is rescued before the building is blown. She awakens later to find herself strapped to a medical exam table and while she gets accustomed to her new surroundings we are introduced to a couple of other people that have come in contact with the virus including Guzman, the soldier who rescued Angela, and a woman who might be Koldo’s mother from REC 3. While Guzman explores a little, Angela makes a break for it and ends up running right into the soldier, who tries to help her escape. They run out of the facility only to find that they are on a ship with disabled radios and immobilized life boats. The pair are quickly surrounded by soldiers and a doctor comes out to explain to them that they are on a boat where the medical staff are testing anyone who has been exposed to the virus and they have nothing to worry about as the both of them have been found clean of any infection. This doesn’t sit well so they begin to do some digging of their own and find that things aren’t as they seem. In the midst of their investigations the medical staff become worried as “the host” has escaped. Their worry comes in the form of a rabid monkey who attacks the chef just as he’s finishing up dinner, his infected blood ending up in the food by the fight’s end. A crew member, unaware of what’s just transpired (the chef turned with his earphones on so he’s otherwise distracted when the crewman comes in) grabs the tray of food and takes it out to a starving group of soldiers who hungrily devour it. Unfortunately, the infected food turns anyone who eats it and before long the ship is crawling with zombified crew members. Guzman, Angela, Lucas (Guzman’s partner who had previously been undergoing tests himself), and the old woman are left to fend for themselves while the uninfected medical and military personal attempt to control the situation.

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{Boat propellers, not just for the water anymore}

First thing you should know about this film is that it has no first person filming. This one is strictly the more traditional third person. Unlike the last one that had it for the first part of the film, this one starts with third person filming and sticks with it throughout the movie. I found it to be a good idea since this was supposed to be the film that wrapped up the whole series. It gave the filmmakers more play to do what they needed to do in order to end the franchise. I don’t think it would have worked as well if they had kept with the first person, found footage filming. Doing it this way allowed them to show everything they needed to show without any constraints. So how does this one stack up to the rest of the films in the series? Actually, this might be my favorite in the franchise. With the exception of a couple of issues, I loved this REC 4. It doesn’t have any of the tension from the first film, but it has some exceptionally well done zombie effects, a great cast, and a story that wraps everything up rather nicely (with the exception of one end scene that I’ll discuss after the info dump so as not to ruin anything).

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{Zombie meth teeth are easier to see in third person view points as well}

The zombies are probably my favorite thing about number 4. They are amazingly well done and showcase some great makeup, looking much like they did for Part 3, very demonic and torn up. I have to applaud the makeup department for their work, while they are very similar looking to the zombies in REC 3, they had much more gore and blood covering their bodies and a very threatening look, coming across rather feral. They also go back to the sprinting zombies which I’m not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing. They could sprint in the first two so it did make sense to go back to that as this was picking up right where REC 2 left off, but they were more the shambling type in REC 3, so it almost seemed like they were skipping over that one, even with the inclusion of Koldo’s mother and a couple of references to the wedding massacre. Still, they looked amazing and that’s what I care about the most in any zombie film. The only zombies I can say didn’t look very realistic were the zombified monkeys that the medical staff were using as test animals. They somehow came across creepy none the less though, they looked fake as hell being most CGI it seemed, but they were still somehow creepy. Not sure how that worked out but it did so kudos to them.

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{See, creepy, just not that realistic}

Of course, key to any good zombie is the man or woman portraying the walking (or running) corpse, and I can’t say I saw a single zombie performance that I didn’t like. It’s a well-known fact I’m not much of a fan of the fast moving zombies, but it worked for REC 4. Really, every actor did a good job with their character, including Manuela Velasco reprising her role of Angela. I’m glad they brought her back for this one as I don’t think you could complete the REC franchise without her being a part of it. Paco Manzanedo did a good job with the protective soldier Guzman as well Hector Clome as the morally ambiguous Dr. Ricarte, but I think my favorite was Ismael Fritschi’s portrayal of Nic, the ship’s tech specialist who helps the group survive. The character just had so much heart and Fritschi made you care about his survival.

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{Our group of survivors}

The story was also a well written way to end the whole franchise (with the exception of that aforementioned scene which I’ll put at the very end so as not to ruin it for you, I’ll even stick it after the info dump). The only thing I didn’t get was that I’m not sure if this one is still religious or not. It didn’t seem to be in my opinion. This film was more scientific than the others, with them referring to what other films had referred to as a demon only as a parasite. You almost never hear that they are demonically possessed, just infected by a host that carried a parasite within them and spread disease. It was one of the only things I’m not sure if I cared for. They spent so much time with the other ones delving into the religious aspect of things that to suddenly change it up and simply call it a disease seemed rather odd. I could have missed something but it looked to me like they’d passed on the demonic aspect and just gone with the disease side of it.

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{That does not look like a normal virus to me}

Even with the change up from religious to scientific reasons for the zombie menace, if you were a fan of the third film I think you’ll love this one, if not, I’d suggest giving it a shot anyway. This is a great zombie flick and a wonderful end to a franchise that thankfully knew when to quit.

 

The Undead Review

 

Directed By: Jaume Balaguero (REC 1 and 2, Fragile)

Starring: Manuela Velasco (REC 1 and 2, Audacia), Paco Manzanedo (Cobayas: Human Test, Omnivores), Hector Colome (To Love is Forever, Dark Blue Almost Black), and Ismael Fritschi (Omnivores, 25 Carat)

Released By: Somnium Films, Filmax, and Rec Apocalipse

Released Type: Straight to Video

Release Year: 2014

MPAA Rating: Rated R

 

 

Spoiler Alert

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The very end of the film finds the parasite swimming in the water after the boat has been destroyed and our two surviving characters have made it safely away. Who makes it away? That’s not important and I’m not giving everything away. The problem is the parasite. They had already killed its host and left it to die on the boat, but it suddenly shows up at the very end swimming around in the water. Instead of dying, it swims into a fish’s mouth, implying that it will still survive to wreak havoc at a later date. I know horror films are notorious for giving that one last little scare that hints at further films but this is supposed to be the last film, so why not just end the damn thing. It’s not a huge complaint, but I really wish they had just ended the franchise by actually ending it. Not giving a hint that everything’s not actually over. Just my opinion.

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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