[REC] 3: Genesis
Directed by Paco Plaza
What do you get when you strip the [REC] series of its found footage gimmick? A typical cliché-ridden zombie thriller with a thin veneer of comedic intent, constantly stumbling over its myriad plot holes like [REC] 3.
Evolving from the first-person perspective is a sensible idea, but director Paco Plaza (one half of the team behind potent scare-fests [REC] and [REC]2) doesn't have a distinct sense of what to replace that aesthetic with. After an introduction filmed in first person taunts the plausibility of the idea that someone would feel compelled to keep shooting in such a life-threatening situation, handheld is given the boot (literally) and the film proper starts. The switch to a traditional cinematic style doesn't do the film any favours, castrating the tension that served its forbearers so well, while similarly fumbling the attempt to inject a sense of humour.
Due to the commonly prescribed meaning of the title addendum in cinema, one would be forgiven for expecting a prequel, but Genesis does not depict the origin of the demon virus responsible for making the undead so hungry and cranky in the Spanish horror series' religious take on zombification. Taking place temporally adjacent to the first two entries, the events of Genesis happen at a wedding.
That's basically all there is to this movie: a zombie outbreak at a wedding. The unlucky couple celebrating their nuptials are separated during the initial outbreak and spend the movie's (thankfully) brief runtime in a doomed romantic quest to reunite; and, in the bride's case, show a little thigh while wielding a chainsaw (because a sexualized image of horror will distract undiscerning fanboys from the story's utter lack of purpose).
None of the intriguing elements of the franchise's greater mythology, which mixes a loosely scientific outlook on demonology with a highly religion stance on the supernatural, are expanded upon or come into play in any significant way. A bit of camp and a bunch of gore is all that comes across in this very limited stab at shaking up a tired, but effective formula. Any deeper intent is buried by the film's tedious mediocrity.
It's not scary; it's not interesting; it's not even funny: it's a waste of time. Hopefully, [REC]4: Apocalypse won't be another session on the hamster wheel.
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