Paco Plaza's [REC] 3: Genesis (DVD Review)
Here's the link to the published version of my review in my column at The Richmond Examiner:
[REC]≥: Genesis (2012)
n 2007, the horror series ď[REC]Ē began with an interesting premise that consisted of strange activities happening to a group of people quarantined inside an apartment building. It featured a first-person point of view, showing you everything through a handheld camera that the people were using to document their experience, giving the film an effective ďyou are thereĒ feeling. It had a few problems with its narrative, but the style remained its key ingredient. A sequel soon followed that actually fixed many of the problems with the narrative, all the while still using the first-person perspective. Now we are faced with the third entry in the series, one that takes us away from that apartment building into a whole new setting.
This time around, the focus is on a wedding between Koldo (Diego Martin) and Clara (Leticia Dolera). It starts off using the same style from the previous films by having Koldoís cousin, Adrian (Alex Monner), record the event with a handheld camera. Things start off perfectly normal with guests talking to the camera and the wedding going off without a hitch. The reception also seems to be going quite well, that is until Adrianís uncle begins acting very strangely by jumping off of a balcony onto a table.
However, thatís not even the worst of it as immediately after, he bites a guest in the neck, which sends a panic throughout the room that gets even worse as others suddenly come running into the room to attack the guests. With this sudden turn of events, the guests find themselves fighting for their lives against their friends and family who have become crazed monsters.
As Iíve mentioned, much of the effectiveness of this series had come through the use of the first-person point of view, which this installment starts off with. However, for some odd reason, the filmmakers chose to abandon it just a few minutes after the attack starts, opting to go with a standard camera view instead. Itís strange because the title implies that itís a found-footage film, like the previous two entries, so as to why they would abandon that concept all of a sudden remains a mystery.
Speaking of the title, itís unclear as to what ďGenesisĒ the film is talking about. Thereís a scene where a priest mutters something very quickly about a biblical explanation, but just as quickly says that itís too soon for that. Most people would probably assume that the title implies that this is supposed to be the beginning of the series, but it doesnít do much to explain where the infection comes from, merely telling us that Adrianís uncle was bit by a dog.
There is a semi-interesting story running through the film that has the bride and groom trying to get back to each other, but again, if youíre familiar with the other two films in the series, you can probably guess whatís going to happen. It also contains a fair amount of suspense as the characters try to safely navigate their way around the grounds of the reception hall. It doesnít have as much as the claustrophobic apartment building of the first two films, but they do alright with the setting they chose.
Like with the previous films, you can expect lots of blood and gruesome kills, but after a while, you come to the realization that the filmmakers arenít doing anything new with the series, turning this into a rather perfunctory exercise. Thatís not to say that itís a terrible horror film on its own, but when you abandon the original concept and donít throw in any surprises, it forces you to ask what the point of making it was.
Looking now at the DVD itself, the film is presented in a 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen transfer. Itís a decent picture that allows you to see all of the gore and mayhem pretty clearly. The 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio is likewise clear, allowing all of the charming sounds of blood splattering and flesh being ripped apart to come through quite lucidly. For a DVD, the quality in these areas is more than sufficient.
As for special features, there are only two: Deleted Scenes and Outtakes. The 23 minutes of deleted scenes consists of mostly alternate shots of scenes already in the film, though there are a few new ones to be found, particularly those that were removed from the beginning. They arenít much to look at, but this only goes to prove that the filmmakers were correct in their decision to take them out. They seemed to realize that a movie like this should not overstay its welcome by staying pretty short, which it does at a mere 75 minutes.
The outtakes are rather pointless to watch given that they are only three minutes long and donít show you much of anything. They arenít particularly funny, but at the very least they show you some quick behind the scenes shots. It would have been nice had they bothered to include an actual behind the scenes/making of featurette or even a commentary with the director to tell us how the idea came about and how they went about getting the film made, but apparently it wasnít important enough to include such things on this DVD.
As Iíve already said, itís not a terrible horror film. It has a few things to like about it, but you canít help but shake the feeling that this series is getting old already and that perhaps itís a bad idea to try and drag it out any further. At the very least, if the filmmakers are going to try for a fourth entry, they should find something new and exciting to do with it. A new location and characters was a good start, but itís going to take more than that to revitalize this series.
Special Features: 5/10
Overall Score: 6/10