Directed by Paco Plaza
Paco Plaza returns to his Spanish found footage zombie juggernaut with [REC] 3: Genesis – a sequel taking place miles away from the first outbreak that manages to cleverly tie in to the first two entries without being beholden to them. Clara (Leticia Dolera) and Koldo (Diego Martin) are in the midst of an idyllic wedding day celebration when all hell breaks loose. Koldo’s uncle casually speaks of a bite he received on his hand while the wedding’s revelers continue to dote on the beautiful couple on their most memorable of days.
Instead of a drunken family member embarrassing himself and only mildly upsetting the evening, Uncle Victor decides to plummet off the side of the top balcony and proceed to rip the flesh off his wife’s neck with his bare teeth. Awkward! Then other members of the infected collective come barreling in, leaping and writhing at the unsuspecting guests. Clara and Koldo are separated, and the rest of [REC] 3: Genesis sees them endure the madness and reunite by any means necessary.
Up to this point every shot is shown through the eyes of Koldo’s cousin – shooting on a shaky prosumer camera – and the wedding videographer gliding along with his smooth Steadicam. After numerous jabs at found footage, Koldo, in a fit of rage, destroys both cameras. Cue title card.
Abandoning the cinema verite approach altogether, Plaza instead focuses on telling a fairly straightforward Z apocalyptic tale rife with gory kills involving chainsaws and industrial salsa blenders. These aren’t Romero’s rules, and Plaza continues adding aspects of Catholicism as a means to fight off the horde, continuing the mythology introduced in [REC] 2, giving the film a distinct Spanish flare. Soap opera melodrama is also played up to good effect.
[REC] 4: Apocalypse should expand on the original even further, proving that the zombie sub-genre clearly has more life in it even though it’s been forty-four years since Night of the Living Dead changed the world. Plaza is a great example of overseas directors who are still capable of adding their own spice to the boundless book of the undead, a flesh-eating group of miscreants that are remarkably more beloved than ever before.
3 1/2 out of 5