[REC] 3: Genesis (R16)

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Review byMatthew Turner3/09/2012

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 80 mins

Enjoyable, pacily directed and superbly acted Spanish zombie thriller that successfully tweaks the franchise by throwing in a few laughs among the scares.

What's it all about?
Directed by Paco Plaza (co-director of the first two films), [REC 3]:Genesis begins as a wedding video that introduces us to attractive newlyweds Clara (Leticia Dolera) and Koldo (Diego Martin) on the day of their wedding, with Koldo's teenage cousin Adrian (Alex Monner) and professional, Steadycam-wielding cameraman Atun (Sr B) both on recording duties.

However, when the wedding party heads to the reception at a lavish hotel, the groom's strangely behaving uncle (Emilio Mencheta as Tio Victor) begins biting fellow guests and soon the newlyweds have a full-on zombie outbreak on their hands.

The Good
Cleverly, the film turns the abandoning of the franchise's defining found footage conceit into one of its best jokes: after laboriously setting up who's filming what (a little girl also chips in with her phone camera), Koldo turns to the cameraman after the first zombie attack and yells “Why the hell are you still filming?” before smashing the camera to the ground, whereupon the title card comes up (a good twenty minutes into the film) and the film resumes in more conventional fashion.

The script has a lot of fun combining the conventions of wedding comedies and zombie thrillers (such as the best man who is oblivious to the widescale panic because he's been getting off with a bridesmaid the whole time) and it also injects strong currents of both romance and tension by separating the newlyweds early on, with each one certain the other is still alive and risking everything to find them.

The Great

The performances are excellent, particularly Leticia Dolera, who cuts a striking figure in her bloodstained wedding dress and has an iconic chainsaw moment that practically single-handedly guarantees the film its future cult movie status. There's also strong comic support from Ismael Martínez (as aforementioned lusty best man Rafa) and from Miguel Angel Gonzalez as children's entertainer John the Sponge (there were rights issues with SpongeBob).

Plaza directs with a decent sense of pace and maintains the tricky balance of gags and gore throughout. In fact, the only real problem with the film is that it abandons two of its most promising and likeable characters much too early, without giving them clear ending scenes.

Worth seeing?

[REC 3]:Genesis is an enjoyable, well written zombie threequel that spins the franchise off in an intriguing new direction and delivers satisfying quantities of gags and gore. Recommended.

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[REC] 3: Genesis (R16)
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Content updated: 28/01/2020 08:17

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