How many films can scare you, make you laugh, gross you out, and excite you without contributing much to the series’ storyline? [REC] 3: Genesis does just that. 2007′s [REC] introduced us to a whole new world of fear; with its POV style cinematography placing us directly in the terror. In the midst of all the suspense, the groundwork to an even more chilling underlying story was being laid. In 2009 [REC] 2 delved into the story that the first film only alluded to and elevated the fear to unprecedented levels. Now, [REC] 3: Genesis takes us once again into the horror.
This time around the film’s protagonists are Clara (Leticia Dolera) and Koldo (Diego Martin), an ill-fated couple whose marriage happens on the same night as the genesis of the unholy apocalypse. The film begins in the characteristic POV style of the previous films, but following the intro switches over to a full cinematic perspective. Some feel that this was not a wise move by Paco Plaza, but I believe what he is doing is detaching these films from the whole found footage genre. I enjoyed this transition from first person to third. If you pay attention, from the onset of the movie there are allusions to the previous films; mostly from the first [REC]. These references can be found all throughout the movie. The majority of the film deals with the reunification of the separated newlyweds Clara and Koldo.
Having waited nearly three years for the next installment in the [REC] franchise, my expectations for [REC] 3: Genesis were quite high and while the movie is good, it is not great and as a whole does not measure up to its predecessors. The film is a break from the generally more serious tone of the film two films, choosing to embrace the campier side of horror while upping the gore and creative kills and survival methods. A major cause of disappointment is that the events in this film take place during the same time frame as [REC] and [REC] 2. What was thought to be a prequel explaining the origin of the “virus”, turned out to be a sequel. The film does not add any more depth to the back story of the franchise, it merely portrays a related event. The only thing this film lets us know about the [REC] universe is that the infection was not limited to the one apartment building, but given the title of the fourth film: [REC] Apocalypse, we can assume that the virus spread in some way. Another gripe is that the zombies were seemingly “dumbed” down and although they appear to still be possessed and react to prayers and the like, they were not nearly as menacing as the others in the franchise. The possession of the zombies throughout [REC] 2 is what made that film so intense and terrifying. In [REC] 3: Genesis they are seemingly more akin to typical zombies.
What I’ve enjoyed about all three [REC] films is that they are able stand own their own and each possess certain merits. The first film shocked us, the second film terrified us with the truth behind the events, and this film is more of a fun, campy, frightfest. In the end I feel that this is the best foreign horror franchise of all time and they are collectively among the best horror films in the last five years.