The action now takes place miles away from the original location and partly in broad daylight, giving the film an entirely fresh yet disturbing new reality. The infection has left the building. In a clever twist that draws together the plots of the first two movies, this third part of the saga also works as a decoder to uncover information hidden in the first two films and leaves the door open for the final installment, the future '[REC] 4 Apocalypse.'Written by
Same Ingredients, Different Dish. Tastes Great To Me.
I'm pretty sure this movie will polarize viewers more than REC and REC2 did a while back. It's bound to be a 'love it or hate it' scenario with just a few cases of in-betweeners, and I was well aware of it even before the theater lights went off. That said, I faced this without prejudice beyond having enjoyed thoroughly the two previous chapters, and even then, I knew about the tonal switch in this new one, so I went in prepared for what I thought was going to be both a big departure from the former installments and a silly romp with a lot of concessions to the box office. I'm glad to be able to tell now that I was partly wrong. Let me elaborate.
The movie takes some time to take off. It may seem aimed to viewers already familiar with the material, so it takes advantage of this by using that time to set the lighter tone of the story and introduce us to the new characters and the group dynamics associated with them. I'd say, however, that this movie may work even for new viewers, and doesn't need any previous knowledge of the franchise to be enjoyed, given it's self-contained nature, story wise. Fans of the saga will appreciate every bit and turn in its fullest, but there's no need to be and 'academic' in order to enjoy the big picture. Which is very enjoyable, IMHO. Anyway, the first act works very well. You could swear you're looking at real people on a real wedding, thanks in part to some fantastic set pieces and a bunch of very capable actors that are very evidently enjoying themselves. We are presented also to the first glimpses of humor there. To those amongst you worrying about this very public and discussed aspect of the story, fear not. I hardly found it over the top, and more akin to 'Shawn of the Dead' -exploiting certain aspects inherent to the absurdity of this fictitious situation in a 'real' world scenario- than to silly romps à la 'Scary Movie'.
Now, about the horror. Yes, there's less, in the classic sense of the word. The element of surprise is lost now if you've already seen REC and/or REC2, so that's normal. There's jumpy scares and the like of course, but even those have a certain air of self-awareness around them. The filmmakers know their trade, as evidenced by their former works and experience, easy to see when they confront those unavoidable conventions with impeccable timing and good cinematography -specially in the exterior shots. There's tense parts, however, that are equally well resolved, and the general sense of flow is successfully achieved with sparse dull moments, if any at all. The story flows at a good pace, maybe too good -and that's my biggest complaint.
I think maybe a bit too much story was put to rest in the cutting room. Not enough to disfigure the final results, but enough to be noticeable. There's no loose ends, or not any that I saw right away -and I tend to see those during my first viewing of a movie if they're blatant- but there's a number of secondary characters cut off from the story too soon, often off-camera, leaving evidence of some more screen time being lost somewhere. Maybe it was me sympathizing too much with them -a sign of good filmaking and acting by the way- or maybe it was a concession to the pace and flow of the movie that forced the hand of the filmmakers. That said, I hope there's an extended version of this movie lurking somewhere, as I'd love to watch it on a future if only to enjoy more bits of Carmen Contreras'-the grandma- excellent work.
About the cast, I found it suited perfectly, to my own surprise. I had certain reservations concerning the actors playing the main characters, Diego Martín and Leticia Dolera, but those prejudices were based on biased visions of each one's previous works and were swiftly put to rest after watching the very first scenes of this movie. They really carry the story, and do a great job out of it. Martín does a great job playing the groom with a knight-in-shining-armor complex, displaying a great comedic timing and a full set of subtle quirks than enriches his character with little nuances that turn a potentially dull role into something much more human and likable. On the other hand, Leticia Dolera does great as the bride, showing lots of versatility when confronting the more emotionally complex situations she's given to work with and also fitting the more physically demanding scenes as well. If you enjoyed her previous work, specially in 'Mad Dogs', then you'll love her turn here. I know I did, and my wife too, and we were both biased against her before watching her work here, so that speaks volumes. The rest of the cast is also excellent, with no weak links. Maybe the youngest actors struggle a bit with their lines, but it's barely noticeable given their limited screen time and nonetheless adequate.
In short, 'REC3:Genesis' turned out for me as a great escapist movie, paired in quality if not in tone with its two older sisters. The script is fun, well constructed for what it is, the dialogue flows with the action, there's mild scares, gore, great direction and cast, and works well both as a self-contained story and as a part of the saga. For a fun night in the movies, you can hardly go wrong if you're a fan of the genre and/or the two previous installments. Chances are, even if you're none, you won't feel bored or intellectually offended for what's on offer here, and this, in my humble opinion, is more than you can ask for in those days of remakes and ad nauseam repeated formulas. Just my two cents.
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