Saturday, 20 October 2012

[REC]3: GENESIS - Review By Greg Klymkiw - Toronto After Dark Film Festival (TADFF 2012)

There's nothing like a blood spattered bride wielding a chainsaw at the zombies who buggered up her magical wedding day. The creepy, scary Spanish found footage horror franchise takes a stylish turn in the right direction. "REC3: GENESIS" is my favourite of the series so far.

[REC]3: Genesis (2012) ***1/2
dir. Paco Plaza
Starring: Leticia Dolera, Diego Martin, Javier Botet, Alex Monner

Review By Greg Klymkiw

The found footage conceit in contemporary horror movies seemed, at least for awhile, deader than a doornail after the phenomenon of The Blair Witch Project, the famous camcorder video diary of some obnoxious college kids going into the deep bush to find the truth behind a rural legend.

While the picture was a huge moneymaker, its staying power - even amongst the film's most devoted fans turned out to be rather negligible once repeat viewings revealed little more than what was already there. Subsequent helpings revealed a film that was little more than a one-trick pony. Worse yet, the movie has not aged well. That said, it still deserves a place in screen history as a picture that worked when people first saw it and was backed by an astounding marketing campaign that was as important to the film's financial success as it was to the film's home movie aesthetic blended with pure things-going-bump in the night scares and psychological horror.

It also spawned a whole new horror film adjunct and within the canon of found footage horror, a few pictures certainly proved to have have staying power. Paranormal Activity is still terrifyingly hypnotic and its sequels, while not quite classic material, proved to be supremely entertaining.

The recent Chernobyl Diaries featured a slightly confusing found footage element, but also delivered a decent amount of scares and an interesting political subtext dealing with the exploitation of tragedy within ex-Soviet countries.

The craziest of the lot, was definitely the Spanish found footage horror film [Rec] and its sequel [Rec]2, both dealing with a quarantined apartment building and a small group of survivors attempting to evade crazed, parasite-infected cannibals in a zombie-like state. The first entry was, like Paranormal Activity, a well crafted horror thriller that stands up to repeated viewings, though [Rec] reveals far too many holes in the "plot" and found footage logic. Due to its blistering pace, the picture thankfully keeps you from wandering too far from the terror and carnage.

[Rec]3: Genesis is the best picture in the franchise to date. The found footage conceit is handled in a really unique way and the shifts in mise-en-scene make for a delightful surprise to fans of the first two outings. The cool shift also allows for one shocker after another within the context of a visually crackerjack approach and a setting that can't be beat.

In a palatial, old mansion converted into a massive event venue, we enjoy two primary video captures of a young couple's marriage. When a jolly drunken Uncle begins vomiting and indulging in all manner of bizarre hijinx, it doesn't take long to establish that a horrible infection is spreading amongst the party guests. And yes, they're turning into ravenous cannibalistic zombies. Our attractive hubby and wife get predictably, though understandably separated and must battle their way through zombie hell to reunite safely.

Buoyed by a clutch of terrific acting, superb effects and some delicious shocks, [Rec3] delivers the goods and then some. Replete with a terrific sense of black humour, a breakneck pace with enough pauses to provide expected jolts and a welcome return to the notion of Judeo-Christian religion as a weapon against the unholy evil (a la many vampire films, especially in the Hammer Horror cycle much before the idiotic spate of Twilight movies and their ilk), the movie is designed as a first-rate roller coaster ride replete with virtuoso cinematography, art direction and very little in the way of herky-jerky visuals and cutting. In fact, the cutting is damn fine! Every cut is devoted to advancing things dramatically which, of course, is what assists the pace.

Most of all, though, what sells [Rec]3, at least to this fella', is the notion that Hell hath no fury like a woman whose fairy-tale wedding is transformed into a Grimm Brothers fairy tale. Her white dress spattered with blood, her gamin visage transformed from joy to almost malevolent strictures, her train torn away to reveal her hot gams and armed with one motherfucker of a chainsaw, one only wonders who in their right mind would not be thrilled at the site of this sexy senorita cutting, slashing and maiming her way through one living dead wedding guest after another?

Oh, and have I mentioned her red garter yet?

[Rec3] is pure, unadulterated joy! Though it's now on Bluray and DVD, try to see it on a big screen with an audience. The electricity in that context will be palpable and the movie's good enough to watch again and again once you do pick up the home entertainment version.

"[Rec]3" is playing at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival (TADFF 2012). For further info, visit the festival's website HERE.