When [Rec] first appeared it was a revelation. Somehow it managed the seemingly impossible task of being both a found footage horror movie and actually scary. It created a tense atmosphere with an interesting story and good reason for the camera to be there.
This was inevitably followed by a sequel and an American remake (and completely different sequel). Whilst not as good as the original, it adopted an interesting story following a SWAT team right after the end of the first movie. It even managed to keep the found footage element interesting by using a series of helmet-mounted cameras to follow the police around. In short, it tried to keep as close to the original as possible.
That would have been a good place to end it. Unfortunately, the biggest name in the movie industry these days is Mr. Fran Chise. As such, [Rec]3: Genesis was born.
The first change is that this is not set in the apartment block of the first two films. Instead, the action is moved to an expansive wedding reception. Then there is a breakout and people come back as flesh-eating zombies, but there the similarities end.
Whilst the first two films played as straight horror, this one has none of the tension of the original. Instead, it realises that it is little more than a cash in and doesn’t even bother. Instead, it tries to play everything for laughs, with little in the way of results before descending into a full-on exploitation flick replete with leggy, chainsaw-wielding bride. On its own terms it isn’t very good, but compared to its predecessors it is downright disappointing.
But it is still a found footage film, right? Right, well sort of. For the first 25 minutes or so it is a found footage film, with everything coming from a camcorder-wielding guest and a professional wedding cameraman. After the action starts however, this is abandoned in favour of traditional camerawork and is introduced by the symbolic smashing of one of the camcorders after someone quotes a line from the original film. From then on, it is eye of god all the way, except for this one part where they use a camcorder again. But mostly, eye of god. It doesn’t seem inventive, nor self-referential. It just seems like they don’t care.
Then there is the religious element, which plays a part in the mythology. However here everything is turned up to 11 and becomes really stupid. I can’t really go into too much detail without spoiling it, but at one point it is revealed the zombies look like demons when seen in a mirror. And that isn’t even the stupidest part.
This is a deeply disappointing addition to the [Rec] catalogue and seems to be them stretching out into a new (and profitable) direction. That said, it is not embarrassingly bad, it just regular bad. However, that is not a sign of comfort when [Rec]4: Apocalypse is right around the corner. Allegedly, this is the final instalment, but when it makes the money (as I’m sure it will) the makers may be able to have their arms twisted to make some more.