The first couple of [REC] films were unintentionally funny. Sure, they had some scares, too, but the hysterics of the actors made me laugh probably a whole lot more than they should have. It was hard to take them seriously, even though seriously is exactly how they wanted us to take them. As such, I never really understood how, at least the first one, people thought of them as modern horror classics. They weren’t that scary, their tone failed them, and many of the characters were annoying.
[REC]3 Génesis, on the other hand, at least attempts to fix these issues. The tone is campier, the characters aren’t as annoying, and the scares are … actually, the scares are just as good as they were in the other two films. Most surprisingly, even the cinematography has gotten better. The first two films were shot in a found footage style, meaning it was all handheld cameras as if these events were really happening, and while that kind of worked to create a sense of claustrophobia and grittiness, it can get frustrating to watch, especially in the second film where we flip between sources of video at random points. This time around, found footage only lasts until the title card; after that point, we get sleek, traditional cinematography.
The film takes place during a wedding, which is happening sometime around the first two [REC] films. Koldo (Diego Martin) and Clara (Leticia Dolera) are getting married. Prior to the title card, the footage we see comes from a few different cameras which exist to document the wedding. Everything looks to be going well, save for an uncle who was bitten by a dog and begins acting sick. Those of us who have seen the first couple of films knows what’s in store.
Soon enough, everything turns chaotic, infected zombie-like people begin biting and infecting others, and [REC]3 Génesis becomes more or less your typical zombie movie. Except that the goal isn’t survival; it’s for Clara and Koldo to once again become reunited. To do this, Koldo puts on a suit of armor, and Clara becomes a chainsaw-wielding action heroine — at least for a little while.
That doesn’t sound serious, does it? That’s because, in large parts, it’s not. [REC]3 Génesis is a campier horror film than its predecessors. It’s not about the outbreak or anything related to the infected/possessed. Instead, it focuses on two lovebirds who just want to be together on their special day. Long stares of longing, romantic music — it’s all here. It’ll make you laugh, and then there will be an extended sequence in which people are violently ripped apart, just so that you can remember this is a horror movie.
You can see [REC]3 Génesis without having seen the other movies, and you’ll probably understand enough that you’ll still be able to have a good time. The whole “demonic possession” angle only really comes up near the end, and isn’t requisite knowledge anyway, and the apartment building isn’t really mentioned, either. It’s a side story, one in which the characters don’t know what’s going on, so it’s not imperative if you do, either.
Diego Martin and Leticia Dolera are good enough actors with chemistry that is strong enough to make us believe that they are truly in love. Dolera turns out to be an effective action star, while Martin is more comedic in his approach to not-zombie-but-close-enough slaying. Everyone else is effectively background noise and cannon fodder. If you can remember anyone else’s name by the end of the film, you’ve done better than I have. Everyone’s fine, but they exist to be eaten, not to be remembered.
[REC]3 Génesis might just be the most enjoyable [REC] film to-date. The problems of the earlier films are largely subverted, leading to a more enjoyable movie. Fans of the first two movies might struggle with its change in tone and for dropping the found footage cinematography 20 minutes in, but if you weren’t sold on [REC] beforehand, this might be the one to convince you. It’s campier, but it’s just as scary, and with traditional cinematography and much better lighting, you can tell what’s going on. [REC]3 Génesis is a fun horror movie.