Thursday, September 6, 2012

REC 3: Genesis (2012) - Movie Review

Don't let your drunk uncle come to your wedding, he may end up causing a zombie outbreak.

REC 3: Genesis is the third in the Spanish REC film series.  Some of you know may know the series by it's American remake, Quarantine.  REC 3 is not a direct sequel to either of the previous REC films, so you aren't missing anything if you haven't seen the previous two.  In fact, you really aren't missing anything if you never see this film.  Yes, as you might have guessed, REC 3: Genesis continues the trend of weak horror films this summer.  It's one of those movies that more you think about out, the stupider you realize it all is.

Spoilery rant ahead...

As it's a Spanish film, it's subtitled, but it really doesn't matter as there's very little meaningful dialog, and what there is doesn't make much sense anyway.

We begin by watching a film crew setting up to film a wedding.  This starts out like it's going to be yet another found footage flick, but they abandon that aspect after about 10 minutes.  During the reception, a seemingly drunk uncle falls off a balcony, but then attacks the first person that tries try to aid him.  Out of nowhere, several other zombies show up from different locations.  Where did these guys come from?  This was a wedding right?  Wasn't everyone there by invite?  Don't you think some of the other guests might have been noticing the condition of people they likely knew?

One huge problem I had with the film, is that before this outbreak happens, you see some kind of hazmat team outside doing some work, so they must have known there was a danger, but yet they didn't do anything to contain it before it spread to the whole party.  This team's lack of action led to the deaths of close to a hundred people.  Why didn't they act before things escalated?  Were they the cause of the outbreak?  It appeared the infection could only be passed by being bitten, so I don't see why they couldn't evacuate or warn people.

The bride and groom, Koldo (yes, his name was Koldo) and Clara, get separated.  Clara is able to contact her Lord of the Rings-named husband over the P.A. system to let him know that she's fine and also pregnant.  Do you think five minutes into a zombie outbreak is the best time to tell your husband of less than an hour that you're already pregnant?  In keeping with his fantasy origins, Koldo (Diego Martin) dons a suit of armor and mace and heads out to find Clara (Leticia Dolera).  I actually thought this was one of the cooler aspects of the film.  I think that's an badass way to charge into the zombie horde.  Unfortunately, REC 3 does not take advantage of this opportunity to do something awesome, and has Koldo instead do a number of head-scratching moves instead. At least two separate times, he puts his only weapon down, and continues on unarmed, even though there are clear threats close by.  Who does that?

Later, Koldo and Clara reunite just as she's about to get bitten.  They share a long, passionate embrace rather than run away, but they didn't bother to secure the hatch she just escaped through with zombies on her heels. Conveniently, the zombies decide to take their time to allow them to share their embrace.  These zombies are more polite, I guess.

Clara gets to have her badass moment, too. She finds a chainsaw, and then immediately uses it to cut a small part of her dress away.  Then, she turns it off knowing that zombies are just around the corner. Of course she has difficulties turning it on again when they are right on top of her.

Why is it in movies like this are the main couple the only two people that show any aptitude at either avoiding the undead or killing them?  You see many able bodied people throughout, yet they are all helpless and their deaths are telegraphed.  Haven't any of these characters, or the makers of this movie for that matter, ever seen a zombie flick before?  I understand that panic makes people not think clearly, but you'd think survival instincts would take over.  Don't let them bite you, and give them head trauma.

Oh, but wait, in REC 3 the undead die inconsistently throughout the film.  Sometimes it's enough to stab them in the chest or abs, yet at other times you need to cut their head in half.  Also, in a new wrinkle, the undead can by immobilized by prayer.  Yep, that's right, a priest figures this out early on in the film, but doesn't bother with it again until almost the end.  Since this was all caused by an infection, it makes sense that prayer will neutralize it, right?  Another unexplained wrinkle is that when you see the reflection of a zombie in a mirror, they appear as ghoulish creatures, rather than the zombie they are.

It's mercifully over at just 75 minutes, but it just shows you how very little this movie had going on.

This is normally the kind of film I have fun with, but maybe I just wasn't in the right mood.  It's bloody and there are some moments where I thought they were leading up to something better, but it just falls into all the same cliches you see in any other horror film.  Side characters die off as if on cue, bad decisions are made by everyone, people for some reason fall behind the larger group, etc.  There's nothing here you haven't seen before, and the things that would have been cool aren't taken advantage of.  I understand what they were trying to do here, but I think that's the problem.  They were trying too hard, instead of letting the humor happen naturally.

REC 3: Genesis was written and directed by Paco Plaza, and co-written by Luiso Berdejo, which surprises me as they also were behind the previous REC and Quarantine movies.  They seemed to be really scraping the bottom of the barrel for ideas here.  Apparently there's already a fourth REC film planned, so hopefully they can go out with a bang, because there's been a steady decline since the first REC/Quarantine, which I really enjoyed.

REC 3: Genesis tries to add a new setting and few new wrinkles to the zombie movie genre, but it ends up being just another really dumb horror film.  It's not scary in the least and they tried to make it funny, but everything fell flat.  If zombie movies are your thing, you might get something out of this, but otherwise I can't recommend wasting your time with it.  Pass.

1 (out of 5) Death Stars

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