(The following review was contributed by R.T Ewell. R.T is a writer, his work can be found here)
The REC series is one that usually comes with much praise from the horror community. The original film was released in Spain in 2007, and was followed by a sequel in 2009. Both movies are highly regarded as good horror movies. In fact you may have seen the first movie without even knowing it. That’s because here in the United States remade it and called it “Quarantine”, it turned out to be pretty much the exact same movie. The only thing that was different was the cause of the outbreak. Outside of that fact, I believe it is almost scene for scene, the same. Quarantine also had a sequel (which is drastically different to REC 2) that went straight to DVD, which I thought was a decent installment to the series but it was not received well at all by fans.
I thought REC 2 was good, but to me it felt a bit of a retread of the first one. The basic idea is that a camera man is recording an interview when an outbreak happens causing people to act like (fast moving) zombies. REC 3: Genesis (from 2012) goes in an entirely new direction. Whereas the first two were very dark, taking place in enclosed spaces and filmed from the camera man’s eyes, REC 3 takes place in the daylight and after about twenty five minutes the camera angle goes back to normal movie style camera. I believe it is for these reasons that REC 3 has a bad reputation. It doesn’t get a whole lot of praise.
“Genesis” is not so much another sequel to the franchise as it is another movie in the same universe. There is evidence in the movie that this story is taking place at the exact same time as REC which I think is a pretty cool concept. This is a brand new story, with new characters. The premise is simple, there is a wedding, someone shows up infected and before long, pandemonium has begun. It takes about fifteen minutes before things pick up but it rarely slows down after that. Something I found funny was that the title screen didn’t show up until the twenty minute mark. Not a big deal, but it just struck me as kind of odd. Since there is not really much of a story here, let’s get straight to the characters.
I really liked the group of people that we followed here. Even some of the infected are characters themselves with their own personalities. There are two main characters that we learn to care about. Clara (Leticia Dolera) and Koldo (Diego Martin) who portray the bride and groom of the wedding that’s happening. They get separated at the beginning of the outbreak and spend the movie looking for each other. I enjoyed this a lot more than other people seem to, from what I can gather. The actors did a terrific job making me care about what happened to them which just added depth to the movie.
Before I go much further, let’s get this out of the way. This isn’t really a horror movie, I mean, partly it is, but it’s not a scary movie which is what led parts one and two because they were creepy as hell. “Genesis” focuses on blood more than scares and humor more than darkness. If I were a betting man, I would say that these are the reasons that this movie isn’t as well liked as the first two. For me it was a nice change of pace.
I think the reason I liked the movie as much as I did rested in one woman’s hands. Leticia Dolera was absolutely superb in portraying Clara. I felt every emotion she was going through. Whether she needed to be a bad-ass or sympathetic, she achieved all the emotions needed magnificently. Her chemistry with Diego Martin was completely believable. He did a fantastic job of making us feel that his love for her was real. That, surprisingly enough, can be a hard thing to come by.
I do wish that the infected was treated more like they were in the previous installments. The way they moved was just eerie and spooky on its own. They sort of move the same way in this one but not nearly enough. I love the idea of a horror movie taking place during the day but I’m just not sure that comes off quite the same. Darkness is scary on its own so when you add creepy stuff on top of that it just magnifies it.
I was never massively on the REC band wagon so maybe that is why I liked this movie as much I did. It didn’t reinvent the zombie movie, heck… it didn’t really add to the REC series all that much either. But it did enough for me to enjoy it. REC 4 is due out 2014 in Spain. It took me two years to get around to watching part three but I will definitely not wait that long to watch the fourth one.