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[Rec]³ Genesis (2012)
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
DVD Released: 11/6/2012
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 11/13/2012; Updated 9/19/2018
As the sub-genre shows no sign of slowing down, I've reviewed several "found footage" horror movies recently and most of them have been awful. In at least one review, I wondered if someone was holding a secret contest to see who could make the worst "found footage" horror movie. Given all of that, I rarely get the opportunity to discuss "found footage" films which I actually like. I certainly likeCloverfield and there are been a few things from the Paranormal Activity series which I admire (most notably the acting of the pool skimmer from Paranormal Activity 2). However, my favorite “found footage” horror film is the 2007 Spanish entry [Rec]. This film from Paco Plaza and Jaume Balaguero took the zombie genre and gave it a claustrophobic twist which created a truly nerve-wracking experience. They followed up in 2009 with [Rec]² which took the story into a more supernatural direction. Now, they are back with [Rec]³ Genesis which promises to take the series in a new direction.
[Rec]³ Genesis opens with a photo montage video which introduces us to Koldo (Diego Martin) and Clara (Leticia Dolera), who are getting married. We then cut to home video footage of Clara preparing for the wedding. The scene then changes to video of the guests arriving for the wedding, where we are introduced to Uncle Victor (Emilio Mencheta), a veterinarian who has a bandaged hand. He explains that he was bitten by a dog. The video then shows the wedding and the setting then changes to a large castle-like church complex where the reception is being held. We watch Koldo and Clara do a choreographed dance while everyone has a good time. Then, suddenly Uncle Victor goes berserk and bites a woman. Panic ensues and the crowd scatters as the wedding guests become infected and begin attacking one another. Koldo and Clara are separated in the onslaught, with Clara going with Rafa (Ismael Martinez) and Koldo staying with a larger group of uninfected. Determined to not let this run their wedding day, the two become determined to find one another.
Again, [Rec] took a somewhat familiar premise and melded it with the "found footage" genre, creating something which felt unique (and was successful enough to spawn an nearly immediate American remake,Quarantine.) The envelope was pushed farther in [Rec]² as the story brought religion and the supernatural into the mix. The question became how would [Rec]³ Genesis change things. Before even starting the film, the most noticeable change is the Paco Plaza is riding solo in the director's chair on this one, with Jaume Balaguero serving as a producer. Plaza wrote the screenplay along with Luiso Berdejo, who also contributed in [Rec]. They've created a movie which is part of the [Rec] universe, but attempts to take the series in a new direction.
As [Rec]³ Genesis opens, we seem to be in familiar territory stylewise, as handheld video cameras are used by the characters to tell the story. We aren't in familiar territory story wise, as the movie does not take place in the apartment building featured in the first two films. The tie to [Rec] arrives in the guise of Uncle Victor, who was presumably bitten by the dog which was mentioned in the first film. When Victor freaks out and the killing begins, we get the same kind of kinetic action which made the series famous. Then, at the 22-minute mark, something happens. [Rec]³ Genesis goes from being a "found footage" movie to a film which is shot in the typical narrative fashion. (The aspect ration also changes from 1.78:1 to 2.35:1.) We now observe the action as we would with any movie and there's no longer a need to have a character taking video when they should be running. This allows the story to cut back and forth between Koldo and Clara.
These changes are interesting, but they aren't necessarily good for the film, which is certainly the weakest in the series. The movie's first problem is that it takes 19 minutes for Uncle Victor to lose his mind. That means that up until that point we are essentially watching the wedding video of someone which we don't know. Sure, this allows for some character development, but there's no suspense or build-up. If you weren't familiar with the series, you would have no idea what was going on. No matter the case, this part of the first act is rather boring.
Things obviously pick up once the action begins and the switch to a traditional style of filmmaking actually comes as a welcome change. And I'm sure that getting out of the confined space of the apartment building and into a much, much larger location seemed like a good idea at the time. However, it actually kills the mood in the film. All that I could think the entire time was, "That place is huge, why don't they simply hide?" No, instead, the character just run and run, which means that they are constantly running into the infected. [Rec]³ Genesis also works in some humor and campiness which certainly weren't present in the first two films. An entertainer in a costume is played for laughs (and it is admittedly funny) and part of the third act borders on the sort of horror cheesiness seen inEvil Dead 2. (Clara is cool, but she's no Ash.) There are a few suspenseful moments here, but the fact that the characters have so many opportunities to flee really cuts down on the suspense. The whole thing is very reminiscent of Lamberto Bava's Demons.
[Rec]³ Genesis is a tough nut to crack. It's not as good as the first two films in the series, so it's easy to label as a disappointment. And while the new ideas don't really work, Plaza must be commended for trying something new with the film. On the plus side, the movie is still better than many other horror movies out there. The action scenes work and there's plenty of gore and "zombie" action. The series is set to conclude with the next film and I can't wait to see what they do with that one.
[Rec]³ Genesis offers yet another reason to check "No" on that wedding invitation on DVD courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at both 1.78:1 and 2.35:1 and the transfer is enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. The image is sharp and clear, showing no grain and no defects from the source materials. The video segment of the movie looks very crisp and sharp. Save for some blurring when the camera moves too quickly, the picture looks good and shows good colors. The rest of the movie looks good as well. The image is never overly dark or bright, and the colors look good. The level of detail is good and for a DVD, the depth is acceptable. The DVD carries a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track which provides clear dialogue and sound effects. This is the original Spanish language track and the English subtitles are easy to read. The stereo and surround effects work very well here. From the reception to the attack scenes, the track does a fine job of placing sounds in the various speakers, which helps to put us in the mix. The subwoofer effects are nicely done as well.
The [Rec]³ Genesis DVD contains only two extras. We get twelve DELETED SCENES which run about 23 minutes. The bulk of this -- over 15 minutes of it -- takes place before the outbreak begins, so we get a lot more footage of Clara getting ready, the wedding, and the reception. The other scenes show more moments with Koldo and the other survivors trying to find a place to hide or a way to escape. This also offers longer versions of some scenes from the third act. We also get a 3-minute blooper filled reel of OUTTAKES.
On September 25, 2018, Shout! Factory released [Rec]³ Genesis on Blu-ray Disc, as part of the [Rec] Collection. The film has letterboxed at 1.78:1 and 2.35:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 32 Mbps. The image is very sharp and clear, showing no notable grain and no defects from the source materials, save for the intentional defects seen during the first act. Once the movie goes to a more narrative approach, the picture takes on an impressive crispness, revealing a nice amount of depth, and detail which allows us to see the textures on objects. The colors look very good, most notably reds, and the image is never overly dark or bright. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs an 48 kHz and an average of 2.5 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The numerous action sequences provide satisfying surround and stereo effects, as we often feel that we are in the middle of the action. The mix does a nice job of placing the sound, so we know where the monsters are. The subwoofer effects also work well, adding emphasis to the attack scenes.
The [Rec]³ Genesis Blu-ray Disc contains several extra features. "[Rec]³ Genesis - Preparing a Bloody Wedding" (118 minutes) is a very detailed making-of feature which is longer than the movie itself! Comments from Director Paco Plaza anchor this piece, which examines nearly every facet of the production and provides a ton of on-set footage. "Making of [Rec]³" (23 minutes) raises the question, "What else could be left to show?" The answer is nothing, as most of what is seen here was featured in the earlier extra. The DELETED SCENES and OUTTAKES featured here are the same as those seen on the DVD. The extras are rounded out by THEATRICAL TRAILERS, TV SPOTS, and an "Image Gallery".
As you can tell from the above review, I wasn't impressed with [Rec]³ Genesis when I saw it the first time. However, seeing it again, I liked it more. Perhaps I wasn't prepared for the shift in focus upon my first viewing. Knowing that was coming, I was able to admire the amount of work which went into staging the film and how the mixture of horror and humor mesh quite well.
Review by Mike Long. Copyright 2012/2018.