Director: Paco Plaza
Tagline: You are invited to witness the beginning…of evil.
[Rec]3 is, obviously the third in the series but also chronologically runs both before and parallel to the first…that’s right it’s the dreaded prequel – kind of, but strangely it is not an origin film as the tagline would indicate, despite events part explaining the initial outbreak in the first film. Right, that’s that explained lets get on and discuss the movie.
The film centres around the wedding of Koldo and Clara, and as per the previous films is filmed in a handheld camcorder style, this time by Koldo’s younger cousin Adrian and the wedding photographer, Atun as they set about documenting this happiest day of their lives. Through the presented footage, we learn that Adrian’s uncle has a bloody bandage covering one of his hands, seemingly from an earlier dog bite. With the party in full flow, Adrian later notices his uncle appears a little dazed and then vomiting blood, thinking it’s just the result of over-excess he doesn’t worry, that is until later in the evening the uncle falls from an internal balcony onto a table of food. As his wife approaches to help her seemingly drunk husband he suddenly awakes biting her and spitting blood on the guests. Cue carnage, the credits and a change in filming style, as for the first time in the franchise a [Rec] movie adopts a more traditional third-person presentation as our separated newly-weds seek to find each other once again amidst the chaos.
Zombie Quality: ***
In this film, the zombie-like creatures often had torn bloody clothes (depending on how they had died), bloodshot or blank white eyes and blood smeared over their mouths or wounds, defiantly selling the experience of their ordeal. Regarding what is known as ‘featured’ zombies these varied slightly more with the now mandatory flesh away from the mouth showing teeth and jaw zombie amongst others. It would be fair to say that these were textbook zombies, to a high quality but from a movie of this size you are not let down but it also does not go above and beyond.
Zombie Behaviour: **
Like in Uwe Boll’s ‘interesting’ House of the Dead, at certain points these zombies launch themselves throughout the air to get down from balconies which is a little odd. Moving past that sudden feat of agility these are your modern zombies, staggering around aimlessly but bursting into a sprint when required, however as per the [Rec] lore these are zombies for religious reasons and they can be stopped in their tracks by prayer, holy water and consecrated ground giving our survivors an interesting and unique, if rather odd, advantage. Finally, due to the possessed demonic nature of the ‘zombie infection’, if we can call it that – the reflections of these creatures show their true self as they appear like the end creature in the original film and for these reasons I have to mark this criteria slightly lower than I would have liked to.
Zombie Threat: *
In order to fully assess the zombie threat to mankind, we will also need to take into account the original film where the events occur during (one would suspect) the final third of this film, and while it’s an almost hopeless predicament for those trapped in the situation, the authorities seem fully aware of this phenomenon across the city, reducing the threat to mankind overall. The religious aspect does lend these films a slight supernatural quality although for my opinion, it detracts as much as it adds, seemingly providing another way to stop the creatures… well as long as they do not have hearing aids, watch the film and you will know what I mean.
Gore Content: ***
I was glad to see a real lack of CGI in this film, as the blood and effects had real texture to it and although, for its rating, a surprisingly high amount of action in the first two-thirds takes place either off screen or is subtly shaded or hidden the film comes up with the goods when it needs to. Liberally showing blood, it isn’t really until Clara decides she has had enough, picking up the chainsaw shown on the cover that things pick up as we begin to witness the best use of a chainsaw since Leatherface, with not just heads but bodies being split in two. If that wasn’t enough, the Fx crew pull out the stops with an electric whisk to the face of one unfortunate party goer, and good riddance to that one, and one of the most brutal acts of love that you will ever see, meaning this film ends up with a very respectable gore score.
Overall Rating: ****
Better than the sum of its parts, this is as romantic as zombie movies come and never forgets its sense of fun and humour throughout. Sure, not everything works but it doesn’t have to, as you route for the most star-crossed lovers since Romero and Juliet to find each other and survive. The film manages to tie in nicely with the other offerings in the franchise but still follows its own distinctive path, which it benefits from and helps it stay fresh.
At only an hour and twenty minutes it doesn’t overstay its welcome or pad itself out with filler dialogue, meaning that there is a lot to recommend with this film, so if you are a fan of the other [Rec] films, then no doubt you will enjoy this, and if you haven’t seen them before then you could do a lot worse than checking this one out.
Here’s hoping [Rec]4 will be just as enjoyable.