[REC] Genesis is the third film in the Spanish [REC] horror franchise and for the third movie in a zombie series it’s not bad. I haven’t, as yet, seen the first sequel, [REC2], but I enjoyed the first [REC] film, finding it genuinely creepy in places, with a nice twist in its tail.
[REC] Genesis isn’t really a sequel, but a prequel to events that occurred in the first film, which helps to provide a little context to the earlier film, although to be fair, not a lot.
The film begins in typical [REC] hand-held camera fashion with a photographer at a friend’s wedding recording the build up to the big event and parts of the ceremony and the wedding breakfast. Things take a turn for the worse when the father of the bride (I think) starts attacking people and trying to eat them, (as you do), an antisocial trait which then starts to spread throughout the rest of those attending the evening wedding party. It’s then business as usual, for this kind of zombie-like film, where a small group of survivors then try to avoid being eaten themselves and get whittled down in numbers, person by person, limb by limb!
After the initial set-up and initial zombie attack the style changes from a hand-held, almost amateur filming style to - after the camcorder gets broken - full on proper high definition camera filmmaking, which makes a nice change to the previous shaky-cam shots.
Where the [REC] films do demonstrate some originality is in the type of zombie infection/contagion that they document. I really like the religious undertone to proceedings and there’s a nice sequence where the priest manages to get the marauding ‘zombie’ types to stop their marauding by reading extracts from the Old Testament, which I guess makes these zombies more like historical revenants, which themselves were the inspiration for vampires.
The film is pretty well-shot, although I have to admit I was glad they switched over to normal filmmaking for the majority of the film as I’m getting a little tired of the shaky-cam style now. There are also some fairly tense moments, including one involving a dropped screwdriver penknife, a metal grate and a rickety old metal ladder leading down to an underground tunnel
The acting is pretty decent; particularly the actors playing the young married couple at the centre of events, along with the initial ‘Pepé le Spew’ papa zombie who is quite unnerving. The soundtrack demonstrates a nice mix of unobtrusive cues and some nicely over-the-top wedding dance tracks including a very enthusiastic Spanish language rendition of Eloise!
In fact one thing that does make Genesis stand out from its predecessor is that it’s really a black comedy rather than a ‘straight’ horror flick, with some of the sight gags being very reminiscent of early Sam Raimi or Peter Jackson’s work. One character even gets dressed up in a suit of armour to fight the zombie-demons! There’s also a reference to the first Die Hard film involving a fire hose and an upstairs window – I’ll let you figure out the rest.
While it’s certainly an enjoyable addition to the over subscribed zombie sub genre, [REC] Genesis has its faults. The shaky cam wedding video introduction doesn’t really allow the viewer to get to know any of the principal characters particularly well and therefore you don’t really care what happens to them. It also signposts later set pieces too obviously, for example, the happy couple cut their wedding cake with a large sword, which you just know is going to end up being used later on to behead or dismember someone or something. Although, on the other side of the coin, I guess in a way this is preferable to characters just stumbling across a weapon by accident, like the chainsaw the bride picks up toward the end of the film.
However, for fans of well-made zombie films [REC] Genesis will hit the spot and I, for one, would be interested to see where they take this popular series to next.
Reviewer: Justin Richards
Entertainment One have just released [REC] Genesis on DVD, so keep a look out for it on the shelves of your local HMV or supermarket.