[Rec] Génesis - Blu-ray Review

'[Rec] Génesis is a film made of brave choices'

[Rec] 2 performed a rare sequel feat in that, by adding explanation and backstory, it actually managed to make [Rec] a better film. The scares were better too of course and the layered narrative more ambitious but the fact remains that the [Rec] franchise as a whole was stronger because of the existence of the second film.

Step forward the third film, [Rec] Génesis, to try and continue this tradition. Only it doesn't. Unlike [Rec] 2, there's pretty much no consideration here of the story that went beforehand, no desire to try and embellish the narrative or lead us to new places. Hell, it isn't even clear where we are in the timeline. Other viewers have speculated that the events of [Rec] might be viewable in the background, on a TV at some point but if that is there (and it is an 'if') then it's a pretty obscure reference, rather than a chronological locator. The lack of a continuing story is shame for those looking for more explanation but in its own way it's a brave choice.

In fact, [Rec] Génesis is a film made of brave choices. There's added humour here for one thing, director Paco Plaza (who co-directed the first two films) recognising that you cannot possibly have zombies at a wedding without raising at least a little chuckle. There's also greatly increased gore and a mid-way through abandonment of the found-footage structure that has previously been the franchises' calling card.

Departing from the found footage structure may well be the one gamble Plaza makes which doesn't come off. Whilst his other choices can be recognised as brave departures from the series' norm, before those norms became stale, it is difficult to mount a defence for a found footage film which switches to high-resolution steady-cam half way through. Plaza might point to the fact that the film features a professional cameraman with said equipment (and George Romero-like glasses, surely a deliberate nod) but it is not he doing the filming and the effect of switching from night-mode on someone's handheld to professional quality pans is jarring and questions the nature of the film's fiction. It weakens the strength of the narrative, hinting that, this time, Plaza and co-writer Luiso Berdejo did not have a well-rounded enough story to shoot the whole thing through the camera of his protagonists.

The other changes to the formula though make [Rec] Génesis a welcome addition, free to be considered 'non-canon' by those who dislike the changes. Plaza's pursuit of gore makes this a very different Horror to the quiet jumps of the first and second films but hey, why not? It's a zombie franchise after all and seeing a skilled director have fun with weddings, blood and chainsaws is a nice departure. Quirky and interesting; two things not normally glimpsed in third instalments.

[REC] Génesis is released in the UK on DVD and Blu-ray on 3rd September 2012.

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