Sometimes the third time is indeed the charm…or at least a charming, fairytale zombie romance. Romance and Zombies? That’s exactly what Paco Plaza mixes together with panache in [REC]³ Genesis.
Much greater than the sum of its recycled parts, [REC]³ rewards diligent viewers in a big way. Instead of the known signs of infection being a precursor to a string of predictable levels of Zombi-ism and attacks, they are used to lay down foreshadowing of bigger events and build palpable suspense. Taking mental notes and keeping tally of who’s where and what’s what will only serve to increase your viewing pleasure and depth of immersion. You may never feel cheated with [REC]³. I didn’t. You may, however, feel confused. This installment has not only romance but humor…and the tone shifts quite often. The first of these shifts is the most major but most natural, the docu-style filming of the past two movies being eschewed for something more traditional where the fantastical side of [REC]³ can be more easily traversed.
[REC]³ also contains further discovery on the nature of The Infection. Turns out it’s more of a Viral Possession of sorts, the essence of the original infected girl passing from victim to victim like vampirism passing from a Master to its fledglings…except this demon is visible (only) in their reflections.
Zombie action may stop the wedding reception but it only serves to fuel The Bride’s (Clara, played by Leticia Dolera) determination to find her way back to her new husband, Koldo (Diego Martin) and start their life together. Does the mantra “This wedding is happening no matter what I have to do or who I have to kill!” sound familiar? I thought so. Also interesting is how the POV’s of The Bride and Groom are reflected in the two major tones of the latter, cinematically filmed, portion of the movie. The bulk of [REC]³ is big on romance, bordering on melodrama at times and, strangely enough, action-comedy at others. The sex roles are reversed to some degree though, as it is The Groom’s view that is more romantic and The Bride’s that is ‘Let’s Git This Shit Done Nah!’ in nature, even turning into an all out horror music video at one point as she chainsaws her way through the guest list.
At its undead heart, [REC]³ is all about relationships. We hunger for the ones we love. Passion has had lovers, friends, and ‘frenemies’ alike, sparring and spitting at the mouth since the dawn of time, but it’s our compassion for each other and the choice of self-sacrifice that in the end truly keeps us human.
Overall, the freshness of this installment coupled with great character background, excellent gore scenes, and clever weaving of the medium style into the narrative was more than enough to fuel me through any strange tonal shifts. Spellbinding.
P.S. Fabulous wedding shoes also make excellent weapons. Don’t forget that, Boys!
Also noteworthy by Paco Plaza:
A Christmas Tale (2005)
From the Spanish anthology “6 Films To Keep You Awake”
It’s like The Goonies meets Tales From The Crypt!