Ángela Vidal, the spunky young television reporter that entered the building in 2007 has exited with the swat team. Little do they know that she carries the seed of the strange demonic infection. She is taken to an oil tanker miles off shore which has been especially equipped for the quarantine... Written by
A satisfying, visceral and intense conclusion to a great and (mostly) unique series
(TIFF'14 Intro) The film premiered as part of the midnight madness lineup. Jaume Balagueró and Manuela Velasco introduced the movie. Velasco announced that this would be her first time watching the movie as well. Balagueró thanked a bunch of people involved and restated that this is the final movie in the series, and effectively ends the story.
(Review) I'm a huge fan of the first two Rec movies. The first one is widely considered a genre buster, invigorating the hand-held found footage genre. The second one managed to build on the original, while delivering some truly intense moments and hitting all the high marks. They were intelligent, smart films, a rarity in horror movies. However, Rec 3 was a truly awful mess and thankfully not really canon (you can pretend it never happened). While directors Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza collaborated on both Rec 1 and 2, they decided to split up directorial duties among the last two films. After sitting through a painful viewing of Plaza's Rec 3, I could only conclude that the talent and potential gleamed in the first two films must lay with Balagueró. With that in mind, I had pretty high expectations for Rec 4.
The movie opens (seemingly) moments after the end of Rec 2. The apartment building returns to set up the script before the film shifts to the interior of a cramped oil tanker, with hardly any transition. It is by doing this that Balagueró masterfully switches out one claustrophobic stage for another, without ever giving the audience a moment of relief, or the characters, any reprieve. After a slow-burn first act, the action kicks into high gear as we are told the hope for saving, or destroying the virus lies on that oil bunker. Balagueró is a true horror movie buff, and Rec 4 is littered with references from all over the genre: movies (Aliens, RE, Deep Impact) and games (RE Revelations). Speaking of the horror movie elements, the zombie/demons look and sound more authentic than ever. And as for the new entry in the enemy roster, well, it might seem a little gimmicky but it works and Balagueró has a lot of fun with it (Everybody cheered as Angela Vidal screamed M******!). I'm not sure if this would be the goriest entry in the franchise, but it certainly delivered in that department, especially once the final act kicks in, which is, more or less, an intense bloodbath in true Rec style: Never letting up until the end, yet sprinkling the final act with small moments of black comedy. The most pleasant surprise were the characters. Fleshing out characters is hardly a priority in most horror scripts, but Rec 4 surprised me by turning the tables on usual stereotypical characters, and by the end, I was rooting for the unlikeliest of them. And I loved that about this movie. The whole thing is propelled forward by an amazing score and excellent sound work.
The bad? Balagueró has to work with narrow halls and almost no corners (sadly he could not construct the hallways around his shots like James Wan did for The Conjuring) and as such, the shots are tight and cramped. I was onboard with the directors' decision to move past hand-held, but that does not seem to have helped with shakycam. And while the movie captures some moments of pure intense action and manages to outdo Rec 3 in every way possible, it does not twist the genre like the first two films did, nor will it blow you out of the water.
In the end, Rec 4 is a satisfying, gory, visceral and intense conclusion to a great and (mostly) unique series. While the first two movies were made with the aim of creating genre-busters, Rec 4 is made for the fans who've followed the series, and Angela Vidal from the start. And you will not be disappointed.
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