[REC] 3: Génesis (2012)

[REC] introduced us to a sudden strange plague and the plight of the inhabitants of an apartment building trying to survive, while [REC] 2 expanded on the story as it turned out the contagion was not just sickness, but a catalyst for demonic possession.  The second movie ended on a cliffhanger as Dr. Owen, a priest going under the guise of an agent of Barcelona's health department, tries to get his hands on the blood sample taken from a possessed woman in order to both end the outbreak before it starts and give the Catholic Church a vaccine against possession.  However, he is killed by Angela Vida (Manuela Velasco), the television reporter from the first movie and supposed sole survivor, as it is also revealed that the demonic being transfers between human beings as a parasitic worm.  Vidal tricks the health officials outside into letting her out.

With the creature on the loose things are definitely going to kick into high gear with the Spanish government having to deal with an outbreak of possession, and we may even see the other nations of the EU, along with NATO, mobilize to try and contain the virus before the whole planet becomes one linked demonic entity.  Or, instead, we could head off to a wedding. 

Despite its name, [REC] 3: Génesis is not about the origin of the disease.  I originally thought it would be a prequel, and then the fourth movie would be the wrap up.  Instead, this entry, directed solely by Paco Plaza, shows us another outbreak happening at the same time as the one at the apartment building.  In this case Genesis refers not to a beginning, but to the actual first book of the Bible and tales of the angels who fell from grace.  It becomes important later in the movie, but not too much, as it seems Plaza was more interested in seeing if he could make his own Dead Alive and break the series free from the confines of found footage.  Unfortunately, he largely fails, but probably would have done better if he just decided to separate this from the [REC] series, as it seems the elements set up in the first two movies are clumsily inserted here and there so fans of those don't just stand up and walk out of the theater.

Koldo (Diego Martín) and Clara (Leticia Dolera) are childhood sweethearts that are finally getting married.  All their friends and family are present, including Uncle Pepe (Emilio Mencheta), who was bitten by a dog at the veterinary clinic where he works.  He thought the dog was dead, but it inexplicably came back to life.  Still, he seems normal, and for the most part the wedding goes as planned, although strange men in hazmat suits start showing up during the reception.  That is also when the virus kicks in, with Pepe attacking his wife, and the virus quickly turning almost all of the other guests into raging monsters.

During the melee Koldo and Clara are separated, but they soon join up with other survivors to try to reunite.  Along the way they must battle an army of possessed zombies, all with the faces of the friends and family that were, until recently, helping Clara enjoy the best day of her life.  

Although there were some funny parts in the first two movies - the death by firework in [REC] 2 in particular - Plaza decides early on he's going to play this for laughs.  It becomes so obvious that Dead Alive and Evil Dead II are the influences, but he seems neither willing to go as outrageous as the former and he doesn't have the insane creativity as a director to pull off the latter.  [REC] 3 gives up the found footage conceit early on and switches to being a normal movie, which Plaza is competent at, but competent doesn't cut it.  Both Sam Raimi and Peter Jackson tried new things, and that was also what made the first two [REC] movies works as well.  Although I love the dry jokes about copyright violations much of the rest of the humor falls flat.

Which is sad since Leticia Dolera is set up to be the heroine in this and, just like in the poster, we get her in a bridal gown wielding a chainsaw and killing zombies.  For a few minutes, that is, before what could have been an amazing gory mess just fizzles out.  The ending in some way is supposed to flow from what we already know about the contagion, but it just gets ridiculous and doesn't work within the already established lore for the first two films.  It also, like anything else in this movie, fizzles to nothing but a predictable ending.

That is the most disappointing thing of all.  [REC] 3: Génesis is predictable.  The other two were tense because, although there were occasional jump scares, they never happened when they were set up.  Instead, they just happened.  Here everyone gets killed on schedule and the whole film runs on rails.  While I have to admire the idea of Paco Plaza and Jaume Belagueró each going solo on the third and fourth movies in the series, this entry just goes so far afield that one can almost here the wet raspberry of the air being let of the [REC] balloon.  

[REC] 3: Génesis (2012)
Time: 80 minutes
Starring: Leticia Dolera, Diego Martín
Director: Paco Plaza



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