Review: [REC]³ Génesis (2012)

Clara (Leticia Dolera) and Koldo (Diego Martín) come together for what should be the best day of their life: their wedding. At first, it appears as though their special day is speeding along without a hitch. That is, however, until all hell breaks loose during the reception. Finding themselves forced apart by horrible circumstances and flesh-eating zombies, Clara and Koldo must fight their way through the madness in a bid to stay alive for long enough to find one another again.

Paco Plazo, one half of the duo that brought us [REC] and [REC]², flies solo with this semi-sequel that runs concurrently with the events that have already transpired in the series. This time, however, the focus has been shifted from the claustrophobic confines of the inner city apartment block we’ve become accustomed to onto an eerie church, its murky surroundings and the unfortunate couple whose wedding day is reduced to chaos.

Sadly, this shift, as well as screenwriters Plazo and Luiso Berdejo’s foolhardy attempt to add a comedic spin to proceedings, isn’t as energising as Plazo had clearly hoped it would be. Gone is the POV-style camera work that brought with it an unnerving level of bite and anxiety. It’s replacement is predictable, stale, and uninspired, interrupted only by a drawn out introduction, seen through the personal cameras of the wedding guests and the odd glimpse of CCTV footage.

No matter how much bloodshed and carnage the battle between the survivors and the infected amounts to – and it’s the most blood-drenched and revolting chapter yet – the film exudes an air of disappointment from start to finish. It doesn’t help that, throughout, there’s a genuine sense that, with perhaps a little more fleshing out of the narrative (it has a measly 72 minute running time), some more depth to the characterisations and fewer to add a comedy spin to proceedings, it might’ve had the ability to entertain rather than evoke disinterest.

It must be said, though, that the disinterest is overcome slightly by the enthusiastic, forceful and down-right crazy performances delivered by the central cast. Dolera is particularly on-form at the chainsaw-wielding heroine Clara, whose determination not only to reunite with Koldo, but to ensure her wedding day isn’t a complete disaster allows her to rise above the shoddy boundaries put in place by the screenplay. Martín, too, is very good as Koldo, a man head-over-heels in love.

As a standalone film, [REC]³ Génesis may deliver everything you’d expect from the horror genre: thrills, spills and exceptional amounts of gore. But, as a sequel to two truly ingenious, resourceful and profoundly frightening Spanish horror films, it’s not enough to be as reckless, inconsistent and upsettingly unimaginative as Plazo’s side story is. Let’s hope Jaume Balagueró has more luck with his currently in-development fourquel.

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