Hello, people. Last night I reunited with some friends I hadn't seen for months and ended up going to the nearest theatre to watch "REC 3", which opened in Spain just a few weeks ago. Since I rarely post here these days (blame real life), I thought this was a good occasion to do so, knowing that the series has some following in the United States.
First, a few words of introduction. Despite being a fenomenal source of income for Filmax and the filmmakers behind the "REC" movies, they don't seem to want to live on the franchise for too long. This and the upcoming "REC 4" will be the end of the series, one film telling the start of the outbreak (hence "Genesis") and the other its end. So far Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza have shared direction duties, but they have helmed these two last films separately.
Hence, "REC 3" has been directed by Paco Plaza ("Second Name", "Romasanta"), while Balagueró worked on the psycho thriller "Mientras Duermes", "REC 4" and, according to rumor, some Hollywood work he has just been offered. This is inmediately noticeable when you watch "Genesis", because it departs of the two previous films in a number of ways. First, we are no longer in Barcelona, but in some part of Valencia. There, a young couple has reserved a secluded resort to celebrate their wedding, together with 50 or their relatives, who range from a sex obsessed brother in law to a collection of middle aged women and even a deaf grandpa. Among them is also a veterinarian who just got bitten by a dog in Barcelona... and naturally, hell breaks loose.
Second, the film also loses the handheld camera work that was -until now, that is- one of the series trademarks. Plaza has decided to only shot the prologue with handheld, opting for a more traditional camerawork for the rest of the film. I can't seriously say if this hurts or invigorates the film. This is not a traditional sequel, in the vein of "REC 2", but something different, so it seems fitting that plaza took another approach. Still, I wasn't as fed up with handheld cameras as Plaza seems to be, as some inside jokes seem to indicate.
And finally, "REC 3" is ¿ready? A comedy. Yep. Certainly nothing close to a parody, or a film in the vein of, say, "Shawn of the Dead". "Genesis"' universe is perfectly consistent with what we saw in the previous films of the series, and here nobody kills zombies by throwing vynil records. But still, Plaza is having a ball satirizing the Spanish wedding habits, such as packing as many relatives as possible, or documenting the extremely cheesy celebration that takes place on the resort, complete with spanish 90s pop hits. And he won't even stop when the zombie mayhem starts. I'm afraid some of the in-jokes will be lost to an American audience, such as when one of the survivors early on identifies himself as a SGAE inspector on the mission to check out if the royalties of the music are being payed (!) or another moment when a couple of survivors -one of them a Mexican- wear historical armors to face the zombies.
Most of the humour, though, is pretty universal, such as the out-of-the-charts love the newly weds feel for each other, which causes some hysterical moments, and the toying with the clichés of the survival horror, which provide some great laughs.