(2012)3Jeremy WheelerThe Spanish found-footage series gets a daring and slightly confused third entry with the highly divisive [REC] 3: Genesis. After the exemplary second film blew open the franchise with bullets and exorcisms, the two collaborating co-directors, Paco Plaza and Jaume Balagueró, decided to split duties on parts three and four, each helming a movie themselves. For Genesis, Plaza ditches the found-footage style in favor of horror/comedy -- a gutsy move to be sure, yet does the gamble pay off? The results are a mixed bag, as some will find the film likable in its own right, while others will lament the fact that it strays too far from what the franchise has done so well, which is to frighten the living daylights out of any viewer willing to come near it.
In substitution of intense scares, Plaza weaves in an almost fairy-tale romance between Clara (Leticia Dolera) and Koldo (Diego Martin), a couple whose wedding is thrown into chaos by the demonically infected. Genesis opens with the welcome sight of a camcorder filming the event, and continues in that vein just long enough to juke the audience into thinking the sequel will follow in the steps of the previous installments. However, the camera is soon smashed and traditional camerawork is employed as the tragic lovers search for one another over the span of a long night.
Just like the fractured style, the tone of the picture feels unbalanced. There are still monsters lurking around seemingly every corner, but there's an on-and-off-again lightness to the proceedings that diffuses the effectiveness of the horror. Gorehounds will certainly appreciate the liberal use of the red stuff on display, which is one area where Genesis truly shines, yet the film also impresses in the acting department. Clara and Koldo carve out a niche for themselves as two new horror icons who, if they were in an entirely different movie, would probably be embraced by genre audiences more. Genesis treats the series almost as if it were an anthology and not a continuation of the [REC] story, which lessens its impact whether Plaza had held onto the same aesthetics or not. While fun, this third entry will remain an alienating one for genre aficionados, and that certainly cannot be said about its incredible predecessors.
The origins of the demonically possessed that inhabit the apartment building from the first two [REC] movies is explained in this prequel from director Paco Plaza, one of the two co-directors of the series. His twice-over collaborator, Jaume Balaguero, returns to helm [REC] Apocalypse, the conclusion to the first-person action/horror franchise. Diego Martin and Leticia Dolera star.