Rec 3: Genesis (2012 movie) review…

Rec 3: Genesis (2012 movie) review after the break…

Rec 3: Genesis (2012 movie) review…

“REC” is a foreign film franchise built off of a central gimmick of “found footage” – The audience is seeing what is typically filmed through amateur camerawork (like the shaky, poorly framed video of a video camcorder). The modern era of “found footage” is firmly rooted in the “Blair Witch Project” film (which, in turn, borrowed it’s premise heavily from an earlier film called “The Last Broadcast”).

The first two REC films involved an apartment building that was quarantined because of an unknown phenomenon. That phenomenon eventually turned out to be supernatural in nature.

REC 3 breaks from this gimmick somewhat in two respects – First, most of the movie is shot conventionally and not in the “found footage” style. Second, the movie may best be described as a “side-quel”; It’s in the same fictional universe as the first two REC films but doesn’t feature the same characters or setting.

REC 3 starts as a conventional wedding. The wedding proceeds as would normally occur until the post-wedding reception, when one of the family members begins turning homicidal and delusional. All heck breaks loose and it’s every wedding guest for themselves. The bride and priest break up into one group, the groom and a few family members in another. What wedding reception wouldn’t be complete with another couple trying to pair up as well? How do they fare in surviving this pseudo-zombie apocalypse?

REC 3 gets more right then it gets wrong. At 80 minutes (I counted less but maybe they’re including the end credits in that amount), the film is brief and to the point, with roughly 20 minutes of build-up and 55 minutes of zombie-fleeing and zombie-fighting action. The usual parameters of sound, acting, settings and special effects are all fine for the type of film presented; The film looks like a movie theater caliber film (“found footage” aside, it doesn’t look like it was filmed on those cheap digital cameras like a lot of Direct-to-Basic Cable fare) and the sets don’t look like an inspired college theater troupe gave it the good ol’ college try… It really does look like a wedding and a wedding reception at places where such events occur.

One aspect of the film that I enjoyed was the premise itself – A wedding reception gone awry because of zombies satisfies a lot of the requirements for the REC franchise. For instance, practically all modern weddings are filmed with video cameras (the REC central gimmick), the wedding reception is in a relatively enclosed area (sort of like an apartment building) and pitting normal family members against “zombified” family members adds a bit of conflict into a typical zombie story – They’re your family, not just an anonymous person in the crowd. Do you have the guts to really cave in the head of your favorite uncle or aunt even if they’re now a zombie?

Some aspects of the film, though, are a bit more cliched then they should have been and this is where the film begins to fade. I’m not a fan of “Priests who know of things that the unwashed heathens do not.” Yes, if you’ve followed the religious career path far enough along, you may well be convinced that the apocalypse is nigh once you see the zombies begin to wobble in but… Really? Also, there were some zombie movie archetypes that were really grating; For instance, the amorous couple – Of course they’re going to die throughout the course of the film… They had sex! Also on display is the “Ha ha, I bit you at the last moment! So much for your happy ending!” moment which, quite honestly, is so cliched it defies description. I understand that kiddies love ending films on a downer but why not have it both ways; The person is bitten but did they amputate in time? Leave it up in the air for the viewers to guess.

Nitpicking in zombie films can almost become a cottage industry. Why did the uncle take so long to turn into a zombie but everyone else, once bitten, takes only mere moments? Are you telling me that they couldn’t have used a knife to remove the final screws in the grate? Why not record the priest saying his prayers and then play that recoding in a loop, effectively ending the zombie uprising? Or, knowing that the priest’s prayers were working, say them yourself (or stick with the priest)? Or go back to that one holy area where the other guests had escaped to (After all, the groom only left that area to save the bride)? None of these nitpicks, by themselves, are lethal to enjoyment of the movie but they do add up.

By the way, as an aside – The movie’s poster is a little bit misleading. Yes, the bride does carry around a chainsaw, but only for a moment or two.

One “love it or hate it” aspect of the film is the inclusion of humor elements. REC 1 & 2 played it fairly straight; REC 3 adds a few clandestine smirks into it’s movie. For instance, the groom eventually finds an actual suit of medieval armor and uses it to infiltrate an area where the bride might be. Yes… “A knight in shining armor.” Also, one cast member dies after a terribly cliched moment where she confesses that she wasn’t going to show up at the wedding while it’s learned that the wedding invitation went out with the expectation that it wasn’t going to answered. Finally, who can forget “SpongeJohn”? Really? You’re not even wearing shorts and a T-shirt under that costume? Come on…

A lot of the nitpicks and quibbles can be resolved because the movie is fairly well-made and moves quickly. You don’t have time to dwell on the nitpicking because, once the blood starts flowing, cast members begin to die fairly regularly throughout the rest of the movie.

REC 3 is one of those “OK” movies – It’s good enough for a single viewing but I can’t honestly recommend repeated viewings for anyone who isn’t a zombie fan or a REC junkie. There’s just too many cliches (She’s pregnant? Really?) to weigh down a legitimately appealing premise. Yes, it jumped away from it’s core gimmick of “found footage” successfully but it jumped into a fairly standard zombie plot encased in an interesting setting.


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