If the ”Lethal Weapon” films and the pre-Nolan ”Batman” franchise showed us anything, it’s that running with a movie series long enough usually sees it devolve into comedy. Such is the fate of ”[Rec] 3: Genesis”, more in tone with ”Re-animator” or ”Child’s Play” than the ‘serious’ horror of its progenitor.
But it’s a horror-with-comedy rather than a comedy horror. What’s the difference? ”Shaun of the Dead” and ”Return of the Living Dead” set out to be funny through overt scripted gags. [Rec] 3: Genesis doesn’t set out to make you laugh, but the laughs come because of the campy seriousness of the approach and the outrageousness of the scares and blood. Think of the zombie in Australia’s Undead, peeling the front of his face off thanks to a shovel embedded vertically into his skull catching on a doorframe.
The reason the comedy is worth mentioning is because anyone looking forward to something as serious and original as the first ”[Rec]” is going to be slightly disappointed. There were certainly no laughs in Jaume Balaguero’s taut, terrifying 2007 original, but here they match the scremas in equal measure.
If you’ve seen the trailer you can guess that the events of the film happen alongside those of the first two films, as the zombie apocalypse descends. In fact the dog bite mentioned in the first film is referenced here, by the presence of a jovial veterinarian uncle who received it.
He’s one of many well-dressed guests at the wedding of Koldo (Diego Martin) and Clara (Leticia Dolera), a young Spanish couple on their big day surrounded by everyone from a deaf grandfather (who’ll make a hilarious appearance later and cause a devastating plot turn) to Koldo’s loudmouthed friends.
When the veterinarian Uncle starts acting strangely and then falls off a balcony to his apparent death, the reception turns nasty when he jumps up and tears a shred out of his stricken wife’s neck with his teeth.
Koldo, his young brother, the professional videographer and a bureaucrat there to monitor the rights to the songs they use at the wedding lock themselves in the kitchen when the horror descends. The chase is on to try and stay away from the ravenous hordes gnashing their teeth and crashing at the doors, rescue Clara from wherever she’s got to and get out with their lives if they can.
If you’re sick of found footage you’ll want to walk out after fifteen minutes, but don’t. The wedding, reception and attack sequences are all form the points of view of the videographer and the younger brother with his camcorder, but when the bloodshed starts, an ominous tone accompanies the on-screen title and the action shifts to a more traditional narrative point of view.
The laughs start soon after along with the scares and instead of a thrilling new cinematic form to appreciate with other highbrow horror cineastes, it’s one to attend with a bunch of buddies on a beer, pizza and bad movie night.