Rec 3 follows Clara (Dolera) and Koldo (Martin) on their wedding day, only things don’t go as planned as the deadly “Medeiros girl” virus takes hold of the guests and the pair are forced to hack their way through their nearest and dearest to stay together and survive the beginnings of the unholy outbreak. Along with Paranormal Activity (2007) Rec (2007) can be credited with reviving the found footage genre and making it into the extremely profitable phenomenon it is today.
Whether you like found footage or not the influence of Rec (and it’s excellent sequel in 2009) on the genre and wider cinematic world cannot be denied, so what do you do when you’ve already made 2 very similar and very good films in the same format? You break it. That’s exactly what Genesis does around 20 minutes into the film after opening with the familiar camcorder style, the wedding videographer protests using the found footage catchphrase “people have a right to see this” but Koldo the smashes the camera anyway and the film reboots with a traditional camera format. It’s not a very subtle metaphor but then again Rec 3 is not a very subtle film.
This is a very clever way of freeing the franchise from the oft restrictive nature of the found footage format and allows Plaza to have a lot more fun with the franchise whilst still building towards the planned 4th (and final) movie Rec :Apocalypse. Indeed fun is the word that best describes Genesis and what sets it apart from it’s fairly serious predecessors, however, those who try and disown Genesis as a horror-comedy with no place in the franchise are likely taking things a bit too seriously themselves.
When we look at seminal horror sequels like Evil Dead 2 (1987) or Dawn of the Dead (1978) we see how often zombie movies have chewed up and spat out their predecessors in order to reinvent their own franchise and create something new. This is exactly what Genesis does. The trademark scares, cinema verite style and religious mythos are all still present but it also creates it’s own iconic imagery such as the chainsaw bride and (to a lesser extent) Koldo in his St George outfit.
Genesis is the Evil Dead 2 of the Rec franchise, and that can’t possibly be a bad thing. More of a rom-zom than a rom-zom-com, there is definite tongue in cheek but also a commitment to the ongoing back story of the first 2 films and some genuinely touching moments between the bride and groom. Plaza has made the sort of zombie film that harks back to zom-com classics such as the Evil Dead trilogy as well as Peter Jackson’s Braindead (1992) whilst retaining the signature Spanish flavour that made the franchise such a hit, it’s now down to his cohort Jaume Balaguero to conclude the quadrilogy, hopefully in epic fashion.