Thursday, 5 March 2015



It's been a strange old franchise. Directed jointly by Paco Plaza and Jaume Balaguero, the first two [Rec] movies were both found footage, and more or less got away with the gimmick just before we started getting fed up with it (along with the English-language remake Quarantine, which did absolutely nothing new with the idea). Then the third one, which Paco Plaza directed solo, did the smart thing and ditched the shaky video look in favour of proper widescreen filmmaking, and was a lot more fun as a result. Now comes Balaguero's own fourquel, which is a more than perfectly decent splattery .... Of The Dead, returning to a classic formula in which contagious flesh-eating zombies chase squabbling humans around a confined space.

It's actually surprising zombie movies haven't done this before: put everyone on a ship at sea and quarantine everyone with five hundred miles of empty ocean. We're on a freighter full of scientists looking for a retrovirus cure for the zombie/possession infection that first hit the Barcelona apartment block and then a wedding party in the earlier films. Inevitably tempers are fraying between the ship's crew, the doctors and the uninfected human survivors, and everyone's acting irrationally given the seriousness of the situation, so it's inevitable that a test subject will get loose and start a new infection....

Technically, of course, [Rec] 4: Apocalypse is actually titled [●REC]4 on screen, but that's kind of awkward to keep typing, and besides, the English subtitle is a numberless Rec: Apocalypse. If it's not as much gleefully romping fun as [Rec] 3, it's still enjoyably bloody, more than grisly enough for its 18 certificate, and if this is to be the last of the saga then it's going out to at least the standard it came in with.There's little in the way of humour and levity beyond the radio/tech guy's crush on TV reporter Angela (Manuela Velasco reprising her role from the first two entries), but there are enough zombie comedies out there already so it's nice to find one that stays grim almost in the Romero tradition (particularly Day Of The Dead). The boneheaded stupidity of some of the characters annoyed me, but mostly I had a good time with it.


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