Mania Review: [REC] 3 -

Mania Grade: C

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  • Starring: Leticia Dolera, Diego Martin, Ismael Mello Martinez, Àlex Monner, Claire Baschet and Jana Soler
  • Written by: Paco Plaza and Luiso Berdejo
  • Directed by: Paco Plaza
  • Studio: Magnet Releasing
  • Rating: R
  • Run Time: 80 minutes
  • Series:

Mania Review: [REC] 3

"I now pronounce you chainsaw and wife..."

By Rob Vaux     September 07, 2012

We’ve all been to this wedding, the one that uses its unnecessary decadence to cover up the stifling banality on display. We listen to dull relatives drone on and on about their special girl’s special day, while bored kids taunt the catering staff and the groom’s creepy frat brother fumbles at the bridesmaid’s bra strap in the corner. We sit there and we pretend to enjoy ourselves, while deep in our hearts we secretly pray for a zombie attack to liven things up.

[REC] 3 has been there and wants to share.

Frankly, as high concepts go, you could do a lot worse “zombie apocalypse ties the knot.” The film opens with wealthy Spanish elites wallowing in self-indulgence as the beautiful Clara (Leticia Dolera) weds her beloved Kodo (Diego Martin) in front of their family and friends. Unfortunately, someone’s pudgy uncle suffered a weird bite before the nuptials began, and interrupts the conga line at the reception by taking a big wet chunk out of auntie’s throat. You can guess where things go from there.

That, sadly, is part of the problem. Beyond the basic idea and the few clever gems that spawn from it, [REC] 3 doesn’t improve on the formula much. We settle in to the expected scenario of a small band of survivors fighting through former party guests transformed into cannibalistic undead. The wedding provides a slight wrinkle, when the bride and the groom become separated and must battle their way to each other instead of just looking for an exit. But it strains under the heavy burden of too many zombie movies that preceded it and not enough creative notions to give it some juice.

Director Paco Plaza (who helmed the first two [REC] movies) further develops the series’ religious implications by giving his undead some very Catholic weaknesses. Holy water and Biblical scripture halt them in their tracks, while mirrors reveal demonic spirits possessing the infected. It’s cute, but like many other concepts, it doesn’t go anywhere. The zombies are demons, their arrival heralds the end times and… nothing really. Flashes of satire demonstrate good instincts, as when the bride decapitates multiple zombies while shrieking “this is my day!” But they never progress past the most obvious gags, and while gore fans may enjoy the few new methods of dispatching the undead, the arrival of a chainsaw in Clara’s hands signals an end to any real inventiveness.

The found-footage format on which the series is based runs into problems as well. The filmmakers respond by basically abandoning it when the zombies attack: spending twenty minutes on video of the wedding, hitting us with the title card, and then largely shifting to more traditional filmmaking techniques for the fun and games. The shift comes as a bit of a relief – found footage officially makes baby Jesus cry these days – but the muddled presentation demonstrates just how much this series depends on it. Plaza tries to have his cake and eat it too, which only compounds the film’s already blossoming difficulties.

That makes it hard-going, even at a truncated eighty minutes. Newcomers to the zombie genre might find it engaging, but veterans will spot the tropes a mile away. Once the initial novelty wears off, [REC] 3 leaves us stranded in well-worn territory, without even a snappy twist at the end to get us through. Supposedly there’s a [REC] 4 on the way that will bring the series to a conclusion. Considering that this entry has little in common with the previous two beyond the basic concept, that makes it more of a cul-de-sac than a continuation. As diversions go, you could find worse, but you’re better off plugging in some old Romero classics than slogging through this one. Some weddings just can’t be livened up… no matter how many zombies you add.   


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theduck1980 9/7/2012 2:35:57 AM

Be the first to comment... hmm, well how about - OMG, stop with the f'n zombies & vampire movies!!!! seriously, what's happened to imagination?  Why can no one think of something new? 

After that rant I must admit i'm kinda interested in what world war z has to offer, but thats it!!!!! lol

DarthBob 9/7/2012 4:45:36 AM

I'm zombie (except Walking Dead), vampire, creepy kid, possessed kid, found footage and werewolf'd out.  Will skip this one for sure.

lusiphur 9/7/2012 6:29:57 AM

 I saw the first one and thought it was brilliantly done.  Haven't ventured into the second one yet.  From reading the review, it seems the quality has slipped with each one.  

fatpantz 9/7/2012 7:47:32 AM

@theduck You do realize this is the third film by this Spanish film maker. The first being released in 2007 before zombies were a trend. 

MrJawbreakingEquilibrium 9/7/2012 7:50:03 AM

Why don't you stop watching them, dumbass instead of bitching like a little...bitch.

mtaffer 9/7/2012 8:02:56 AM

No, the 2nd one was excellent.  Fantastic innovation on the found footage genre.  I liked it better than the first.

thefakejaredk83 9/7/2012 8:03:39 AM

The second one is great if not better than the first because it broadens the mythology of what's happening & claustrophobic setting of the apartment definitely amplifies the terror. With that being said the change up from found footage or FPV shots from the first to the actually movie setting of this one takes away the terror that surrounds the wedding.  And with the subtitle Genesis you would think it would've dove into the beginnings of the possession rather than the wedding storyline. Otherwise I still enjoyed it but not one the same level as the first two. Let's hope Apocalypse brings it back to what made the first one special

aegrant 9/7/2012 8:51:04 AM

I have never heard of this series of movies.

But really I came on here wondering where I can find a website that caters to older people looking for younger lovers.... Just effing with ya!

Really has anyone seen the fisrt two in the series? i am going to see if they are on netflix. I usually don't go to the theater to see these types of movies but i will check them out on netflix/rental.

Wiseguy 9/7/2012 3:54:43 PM

I enjoyed the American remake of the first but have never bothered with these here. Maybe if they run a mini marathon on cable I'll see them

InnerSanctum 9/7/2012 7:22:09 PM

 I really didn't care for the second film.  I didn'thave high expectations for this one.  

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