Wednesday, 29 August 2012



Hurrah! Hang out the bunting! The continuation of the Rec franchise has at last broken free of the demands of the ever more tiresome found footage format and metamorphosed into what could confidently be described as a proper film, but it has done so with a degree of wit and class, and it's all to the good because this third entry in the ongoing saga of undead infection is a beautifully shot zombie movie with lashings of blood and gore as well as a charming and timeless love story. With some laughs as well. You don't even need to have seen the first two Rec films to enjoy this one as a straight horror movie.

Rec 3: Genesis (I know, if you want to get really strict about these things, this isn't Rec 3 anyway but [●REC]³, but it looks stupid and it's a pain to keep typing) kicks off with a wedding video in which we get to meet most of the characters through wobbly POV shots - but a reel in, the infection arrives, people start to turn into flesh-eating ghouls and someone basically knocks the Handycam to the floor. Cut to glorious widescreen and we finally get editing, lighting, image composition and an abandonment of any pretense that it's real, as the newlyweds try to locate each other at the reception overrun with the living dead, and then to escape the grounds....

Honestly, the story is told so much better this way. I know I bang on endlessly about the hideous look and feel (and essential dishonesty) of found footage, but when they stop making them, I'll stop whinging about them, and Rec 3 actually squeezes in a few barbed remarks about the second-rate camera equipment before literally dashing the format to the floor. It looks fantastic and piles on the blood and a nice line in character comedy, including the bloke from the royalties department checking the music playlist for the reception and the childrens' entertainer in a Spongebob costume (except it's actually called "John Sponge" for copyright purposes). And it's got the sweet love story as well.

Director Paco Plaza co-directed the first two films in the series with Jaume Balaguero, and the only question is where Balaguero's Rec 4: Apocalypse is going to go. Back to video cameras? I'm not sure that they can after this, I don't think they need to, and anyway Balaguero has demonstrated he can make "real" movies time and again with the Nameless, Fragile, Sleep Tight and others. Found is a gimmick that's rapidly losing its cachet as an effective film-making technique and if its demise means films start to look like films again, the sooner the better. Especially if they end up as entertaining as Rec 3.


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