[Rec]³: Genesis (2012)

Rating: B

Dir: Paco Plaza
Star: Leticia Dolera, Diego Martín, Àlex Monner, Mireia Ros

I haven’t seen either of the first two in the series – only the first American remake, Quarantine – so don’t expect any comparative reviews. As a standalone, however, this works quite nicely, and I was quite surprised how non-seriously it seems to take itself. Not the horror elements, but there are moments on the side which are purely there as comedy, such as a children’s entertainer dressed as Sponge John – there was, he reports gloomily, a previous copyright issue. It all takes place on the day of the wedding between Clara (Dolera) and Koldo (Martin).

Right from the moment one uncle reports he was bitten by a stray dog, you know things are going to go wrong: the main surprise thereafter is the merciful abandonment of the hand-held camera which is used for the opening quarter, in favour of more normal, less motion sickness-inducing, camerawork. At less than 80 minutes, there isn’t a lot of fat on its bones, and the pace is maintained with brisk relish, building to a marvelous sequence which delivers fully on the promise of the movie’s poster (right) – surely, one of the finest images in recent exploitation cinema. It’s not quite the finale, which relies on a clever gotcha, set up previously; that also includes an oddly-religious element, which I hadn’t expected, and don’t recall seeing in many other zombie flicks, though I do refer you to my opening sentence.

There’s a sweetly-romantic angle to the way the hero and heroine refuse to be separated, braving the dangers of a zombie-infested hotel complex to try and find each other, against all odds (I find myself pausing to hum a few bars of Phil Collins). As a result, it could fairly be described as a “zom-rom-com”, though the balance of the ingredients is definitely different from its predecessor in that field. If its predecessors had anything like this degree of invention and energy. I’m almost tempted to watch them, though I suspect the hand-held thing is still likely a sufficient detractor, to make that not exactly a priority.