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REC 4: Apocalypse (2015)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Jaume Balaguero

Starring:
Manuela Velasco/Angela
Javier Botet/Nina
Paco Manzanedo/Guzman
Maria Alfonsa Rosso/Anciana
5 10
PLOT-CRUNCH
In this direct continuation of REC 2, REC 4 sees reporter Angela (Manuela Velasco) rescued from the death trap building she was stuck/possessed in and brought onto a big ass boat in the middle of the ocean. There, experiments are conducted to decipher the virus (which is now a worm, Jason Goes to Hell style). Of course the bug is eventually let loose and it becomes The Love Gore Boat with a bunch of infected peeps running amuck craving da flesh!
THE LOWDOWN
I’m a big fan of the first two REC movies, so much so that I refused to see the 2008 USA remake of the original named QUARANTINE on sheer principle. I’m all good with reading subtitles man, no need for a duh English re-do for this clown. On that, although grisly and in places pretty funny Paco Plaza’s REC 3 somewhat let me down as it deviated from the first two films too much for my liking. Think a spin-off as opposed to a straight sequel. I’ve actually grown to appreciate it more with time though. It is fun! On that when REC 4: Apocalypse was announced with Jaume Balaguero the director of REC and REC 2 (with Paco Plaza)  back in the saddle and the star of the first two movies Manuela Velasco (Angela) back in the fold; I got really excited! I was hoping for a full on return to form for the franchise…and... I didn’t get it.

REC 4 was pedestrian and uninspired. There was no heart put into it and it came off more like a mix of VIRUS and a RESIDENT EVIL sequel than a proper follow-up to REC and REC 2. Granted it looked slick (Jaume Balaguero has quite the eye) with some cool shots and razor cinematography. Moreover, it moved forward at an even pace (I can’t say I was totally bored), I dug that they tried to go back to the claustrophobic vibe of the first 2 movies and it gunned out a couple of note worthy gore howlers during its last act (the practical effects were dope, the CGI, not so much). NOTE: That little nod to REC 3 via that old woman was pretty cool. END OF NOTE. Alas as the end credits rolled, I was underwhelmed. I didn’t care for the characters (Manuela Velasco had a tendency to over-act at times, not really her fault, some of her lines were pretty bad), THE THING game it played felt too derivative of… well THE THING, suspense/scares were on the down low (no matter how much running in corridors the flick displayed and trust me, it was a lot) and some of the editing (quick cut overload) was totally off the mark (see the un-intentionally hilarious beat the clock scene at the end for an ideal example of that).

Also as opposed to REC and its sequel, REC 4 followed in REC 3’s footsteps and basically told its tale in a straightforward way as opposed to doing the found footage "doo" that so worked in the first two films. Sure the opening was found footage and we got some security camera footage here and there in an attempt to stay true to the nature of the franchise (it is called REC after all, short for RECORD), but it wasn’t close to enough. I think that in this particular case, if they would have stuck to the found footage style, it may have elevated what was a basic 1-2-3 script and resulted into something more exciting to sit through. As-is, REC 4 didn’t feel like a REC movie; it came off like just another B Zombie/infected movie with a plot we’ve seen a zillion times and turns/genre conventions that we know oh too well by now. Finally, the promise that came with the revelations found in REC 2 weren’t capitalized on here. They pretty much dropped the whole “demonic” angle and stuck to something more basic/easy (unless demons work through a parasitical worm…Zzzzzzz).  I’m not sure what I was expecting or where I hoped the demon storyline would go after REC 2; but this blah direction wasn’t it… AT ALL! Talk about dropping the ball!

REC 4 bombed at the Box Office in Spain and came out on VOD here with little to no fanfare. I wouldn’t be surprised if it spelled the end of the franchise… for a while at least. They got King Balaguero and the lead "guapa" back, too bad they forgot to bring passion, smarts and edge to the proceedings as well. Forgettable. Sniffles…
GORE
This one really cranked up the red grub during its last act. Bloody gun shots, an arrow in the head (yeah bitch), head bashing, fun with a boat propeller and more! Your thirst for ketchup will be quenched!
T & A
Manuela Velasco went cleavage happy in that short white tank top.
BOTTOM LINE
Jaume Balaguero has stated in the press that this is the last REC film. I hope that he’s wrong, it would be a shame to end it all on such a whimper. REC 4 came off as a "punch in the clock" movie, as if the people behind it didn’t truly care for the project, they just did it because hey, they had to. I’m sure the money helped. Although visually appealing and sporting a handful of groovy gore gags, the whole of it failed to engage me and sported little tension/scares. Freaking REC 3 was more fun and out there than this one! Yup, I watched it in a detached manner throughout and groaned at that dumb “it’s not over” ending. Back to REC and REC 2 I go to get my fix! I personally hope there's a REC 5 to make up for this lack-luster finale...
BULL'S EYE
Tristana Medeiros (played by Javier Botet) is the only character to appear in all four films.

Co writer Manu Díez also penned The Nun (2005)

Manuela Velasco also acted in Jaume Balagueró's short film Inquilinos (2014)
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