When one of the guests, Uncle Victor (Emilio Mencheta), mentions that he was bitten by a dog in the clinic in which he works, no one thinks much of it. But later, when Victor begins acting strangely and takes a chomp out of people, it becomes clear that the dog is the infected one belonging to the girl named Jennifer who lives in the apartment building in the original REC. Soon, the wedding reception explodes in a wave of violence as the infected attack the other guests, spreading the demonic virus even further.
Clara and Koldo are separated, and though they don't know the other's fate, they try to make their way through the fray to reunite -- a task made all the more urgent when Clara reveals the fact that she's pregnant. People in hazmat suits show up, but they're less interested in rescuing the guests that confining them to the area, meaning it's up to the bride and groom to save themselves.
The End Result
Plaza's behind-the-camera playfulness mirrors another major shift in REC 3: the tone, which adds more comedic elements to the story. This lighthearted approach -- granted, I wouldn't call it an outright horror comedy -- is sure to make many fans of the series groan, but the film's failings aren't tied to this decision. (Indeed, much of the humor -- such as a children's entertainer who dresses like "SpongeJohn" because of the copyright issues with "SpongeBob" -- works.) Rather, it's the ineffectiveness of the action and horror elements that doom the movie.
The action simply lacks the pop, the grit, the wow factor of REC and REC 2, something that could partially be attributed to the limited use of the edgy POV style. But more at fault is the bland design of the action set pieces. The main characters simply run from one location to another, fending off the infected with modest effort that often amounts to just slamming doors in their faces -- or, in one of the more questionable plot twists, praying them into submission.
Opportunities for scary or kick-butt moments are missed right and left. When the survivors are crawling through a dark, creepy air duct, the camera switches to a first-person night vision POV...and nothing happens. In a climactic moment, Clara whips out a chainsaw...and barely uses it.
Flatter than the comedic attempts in REC 3 are the attempts to construct a love story. The threadbare script never provides a backstory for Clara and Koldo, so it's hard to appreciate their bond, and any sense of drama is undermined by the prevalent humor. The script likewise doesn't -- despite the title -- delve into the origin of the virus, revealing little that furthers the overall mythology of the series and doing nothing to make viewers' mouths water in anticipation of 2013's REC 4: Apocalypse.
- Acting: C (Broad performances occasionally veer into melodrama.)
- Direction: C- (Attractive, but lacking in scares and thrills.)
- Script: D+ (Boldly steps outside the series' accepted format, but while the humor works more often than not, the story is thin and the set pieces lack imagination.)
- Gore/Effects: C+ (Solid gore effects with limited impact.)
- Overall: C- (An awkward attempt to blend horror, comedy and romance.)
REC 3: Genesis is directed by Paco Plaza and is rated R by the MPAA for strong bloody horror violence and some language. Release date: September 7, 2012 (on demand August 3).