Director: Paco Plaza
Stars: Leticia Dolera, Diego Martín, Ismael Martínez
Not as bad as everyone makes out, I [REC]kon
I’d been putting off seeing REC3 for a long time due to the sheer amount of negative reviews. It was such a shame to read because I absolutely love the first two films. The first REC isn’t just my favourite ever found footage horror film, but one of my favourite horror films ever! It’s one of the few films to actually make me feel scared and always has me filled with tension no matter how many times I see it. REC2 is also a damn fine sequel. It’s not scary like the first, but it’s entertaining and intelligent.
REC3 came along and I was excited for the whole new setting, however I was extremely sceptical about it not being entirely found footage. What’s the point of having a film with REC in the title if it’s not recorded? Of course, then the poor reviews came flooding in so I just avoided it until it popped up on Film4. I sat down to watch it last night, not expecting much at all, but to my surprise I actually enjoyed it quite a bit!
The first 20 minutes were quite brilliant. I loved how it began like you were watching an actual wedding DVD. It was setting itself up for something with the potential to be spectacular. We had lots of different video cameras, helping us to gain lots of different point of views. We got to know all the characters well, very much like the interviews in the first view. It was also very humorous, and the idea of having it all at a wedding seemed so fresh and original! Once the carnage spread it looked like it we were onto a winner.
Unfortunately, the film made the big mistake of scrapping the found footage angle shortly after the chaos ensued. After this, the film just became your bog-standard zombie movie and the intensity was completely lost. The quick-cutting and clichéd horror music also made sure that the film was completely stripped of its sense of realism. Unfrotunately, for the second bulk of the film it just didn’t work.
All of the events which occurred could’ve quite easily worked through the eyes of a video camera and it would’ve made the film a whole lot better. I quite liked the central idea of the bride and groom trying to reunite, and they were actually pretty decent characters. The film had a nice range of characters altogether actually, it’s a shame that some of them were randomly forgotten about, for example the granny and the little kid were just abandoned.
I have to say that the humour did work for me. I didn’t find it as in-your-face as others did and some of it actually made me laugh out loud. It may be me being childish, but I found every scene with SpongeJohn Sqaurepants hilarious. I also enjoyed the gratuitous violence and was quite surprised by how gory it was. There are some brilliant kills in this which should satisfy most horror fans.
I felt like it began picking up a nice momentum during the final half hour and I got really into it. Suddenly I felt like it didn’t need to be found footage because I cared more about the characters and their situations. It became a really fun little zombie film, and the directing became much more solid. I won’t spoil it, but I really did like the ending too. I thought that the last shot was pretty much perfect.
So I maybe in the minority here, but I think if you go in with the mindset that REC3 isn’t going to be a patch on the first two, then you’ll find that there’s a lot to enjoy. It does have a fairly large wobble in the middle (perhaps it should’ve stayed found footage up until the third act) but even then it’s still entertaining and has plenty of funny moments to keep you interested. I love the idea of it all happening at a wedding and the first and final acts use this idea very well. I was also rooting for the heroes, which is a nice rarity in modern zombie movies! If REC3 was stripped of its title and called Wedding of the Dead, then I think it would be getting a lot more love than it has done.