Monday, 3 September 2012

Review: [●REC]3: GÉNESIS

Taking place simultaneously with the events of [REC] and [REC]2, the third instalment has arguably the neatest conceit of the three by combining the same zombie outbreak with a readymade assortment of savages - namely, a wedding party. All walks of life (and, thusly, death) are brought together, from doddery geriatrics to lusty mates and drunken bridesmaids. It’s a perfect storm.

However, [REC]3: Génesis bravely kicks away the crutches of the only element that truly set the series apart from the rest of the zombie sub-genre – its found footage lynchpin. After a twenty minute cold open where good use is made of the multitude of cameras documenting Koldo and Clara’s big day, it’s all dropped. The aspect ratio shifts and we’re into classic narrative cinema territory.

As things kick off and zombie hordes cut a swath through the turquoise and fuchsia festivities, it becomes clear that this is far more full-on than its predecessors. All sense of restraint is dropped along with the documentary aesthetic. It still takes the opportunity to play with form a bit but the realist elements that were so strong before are dropped in favour of striking iconography. It plays more like a parody than the relatively grounded first two.

The thing is, all this change in style and subversion of expectations is to the film’s credit. As if the filmmakers who once rode this zeitgeist realise, like most of their audience, that it was time to get off and change-up. They’ve done found footage and this is their chance to possibly end the series on a grander canvas.

The blackly comic humour redolent of many zombie films, including previous [REC]s, is still there. It doesn’t think twice about dropping names like Dziga Vertov and Jean Renoir to a horror crowd because this is a film that exudes confidence. There’s a biting satirical edge that has time to riff on copyright infringement and music royalties while limbs are torn off and viscera is strewn.

The innovative, playful mythos of this world's zombies is nicely carried over and expanded upon from [REC]2. The explanation for them is a nice idea and it’s good to see it taken to its fitting conclusion.

The two leads, Leticia Dolera and Diego Martin, are captivating as these two doomed lovers who just want to see through the remainder of their wedding day together. Dolera looks like a Tim Burton drawing made flesh and assumes a role as one of contemporary horror’s most striking protagonists; not least when hacking apart her bloodied bridal gown with a chainsaw to reveal a blood red garter underneath.

For all the reasons it’s massively enjoyable to watch, it’s also bit on the slight side and lacking in real tension as a result of the outré tone. That’s close to a cardinal sin in horror terms but when it keeps up the frenetic pace as it does for its all-too-brief (but not more so than the other two) running time, there’s little room to notice what’s not there above what is.


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