Tuesday, August 28, 2012
I arrived at this film with high hopes. The first [REC] is a film I absolutely love. Studying Spanish and being mad-keen on zombie films, it seemed almost too good to be true that one of the twenty-first century's best zombie films was filmed by two Spanish directors in an appartment block in Barcelona. It's a powerful, scary zombie film (that staircase death!) that managed to breath new life into both the zombie and the found-footage genres. Impressive stuff.
The second in the series was by no means as good but it was still streets ahead of most of the competition. Balaguero and Plaza played around with the restrictions of the found-footage film, spiced up the zombies with a bit more religion (not to everyone's taste) and spent their obviously increased budget on quantities of guns and gore. More impressive stuff.
Coming to the third instalment, then, my hopes were high. Almost worryingly high. I'm pretty sure that at some point Balaguero and Plaza had said they intended to stop after the second but, given its commercial success, rights-holders Filmmax said they'd continue with other directors in that case (I might have imagined this. But I think it happened). Whatever the details of the scenario, B+P did sign up to do more [REC] films but planned two more, of which they would direct one each, rather than co-directing as before. [REC]3 is Plaza's segment. It takes place, as far as I can tell, at roughly the same time as the first film. What seemed like an isolated outbreak clearly wasn't...
It opens in the now-familiar shaky-camera style. We're at the wedding of Koldo and Clara. As the family and friends move on to the reception, however, it emerges that the Uncle's dog-bite may be infected. Badly. Coughing blood and staggering, there are no prizes for guessing what happens next. It is, essentially, all fairly predictable. We're ushered into a secure location (country house), introduced to the characters/victims (wedding guests) and then a zombie is thrown into the mix and all hell breaks loose.
That said, [REC]3 handles it all pretty well. The country house makes a refreshing change from the apartment block of before, the characters are (mostly) intelligent and likeable and, most crucially of all, the gore is good. Some cruel, splattery deaths are dealt to zombies and humans alike, characters are killed off, heads and limbs are hacked at. It's gleeful, bloody stuff (which is exactly what we want, right?)
It's certainly not as innovative or as well-crafted as the first film, I'll accept that, but I'd say that it gave [REC]2 a pretty close run. [REC]3 is a well-made, straight-faced, zombie-movie. And I enjoyed it a lot.