[REC]³ Génesis

by Sean "Keanu Grieves" Hanson

EXPECTATIONS: This is the IMDb plot summary for [REC]³ Génesis: "A couple's wedding day turns into a horrific events (sic) as some of the guests start showing signs of a strange illness." Basically Melancholia ... with zombies.

REALITY: If [REC] is Alien and [REC]² is Aliens, [REC]³ Génesis is somewhere between Alien: Resurrection and Inseminoid. It's bad, it's not of a piece with the first two films and ... yet, it's not unenjoyable. IMDb neglects to inform you that the events of [REC]³ Génesis run parallel to those of [REC], and they run so far from those of [REC] they occur in an alternate universe of semi-wacky splatterific horror-comedy.

One of the wedding guests is a man dressed as a poor imitation of SpongeBob, who refuses to remove his cumbersome costume because he's naked underneath; a zombie meets the business end of an electric hand mixer, with grisly results; "French girls are slutty" is a recurring theme. Yes, it's that kind of movie. A mixed bag. A kitchen sink.

Subtext doesn't always have to be subtle.

But I'll be damned if it doesn't have its moments.

The first of those moments occurs early in the film. The wedding party has turned into a zombie orgy. Koldo (Diego Martín) turns to the camera man. "Are you still filming?" he asks.

"Yes, I'm still filming," the camera man says. "The people have a right to know what happened here."

"Ah, yes, a well-worn found-footage cliché," you're thinking, but Koldo immediately grabs the camera, smashes it to the ground and [REC]³ Génesis ditches the found-footage format for traditional narrative cinema. I'm not saying this is the correct choice for the sequel to two of the most effective found-footage horror films ever made, but it's commendably audacious meta-commentary on the narrative leap such films must make nonetheless.

Also, the wedding videographer, a dead ringer for Kevin Smith, slits his wrists because he's too fat to escape through an air duct. High-brow, for sure.

GAAAAHH! Not anouther [REC] sequel!Unfortunately, [REC]³ Génesis' fatal flaw is that pervasive flippancy. Its predecessors, co-directed by Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza, were intense, scary and almost entirely devoid of humor. After Balagueró ditched the [REC] franchise to make the excellent Sleep Tight, Plaza must've thrown up his hands and said, "Fuck it." In Spanish. Because [REC]³ Génesis, directed solely by Plaza, is 80 minutes of fan service, a fluff piece that panders to fans of the genre [REC] sought to redefine. This is a sequel that runs contrary, rather than parallel, to [REC].

Consider this narrative development: Trapped in a sewer, with hordes of zombies closing in, the petite Clara (Leticia Dolera) grabs a chainsaw, casually rests it on one leg, pull-starts the motor and saws off half of her wedding dress, to allow for upskirts whenever she climbs a ladder. Presumably, such emergency alteration would allow for greater mobility, but she keeps her heels on. The chainsaw's unreliable, running low on gas. She knows karate. Oh, and her mascara's running into a bandit stripe. These contrivances exist only so we can root for a semi-naked pseudo-Gothic bride chainsawing her way to freedom, with the occasional roundhouse kick or high-heel to the eyeball when her weapon of choice is acting up. I'd consider this a spoiler, seeing as it occurs fairly late into the movie, but the image is on the poster.

[REC]³ Génesis thinks it knows what you want, and it does, provided you don't want a proper [REC] sequel ... or really anything besides a moderately entertaining zombie flick. Too bad [REC] set such a high bar for such low art.


MINORITY REPORT: Chainsaws and zombies seem to go together like hedge-trimmers and hedges that need trimming. At some point in the future, somebody will pick up a chainsaw and assume that its primary purpose is for the dismembering of the undead. They won't even consider the fact that you can saw wood with it. - Ian "Professor Clumsy" Maddison

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