Crimson Quill’s Appraisal #185
Number of Views: One
Release Date: 31 August 2012 (UK)
Sub-Genre: Survival Horror
Country of Origin: Spain
Box Office: $10,148,447
Running Time: 81 minutes
Director: Paco Plaza
Producer: Julio Fernández
Screenplay: Luiso Berdejo, Paco Plaza
Story: Luiso Berdejo, Paco Plaza, David Gallart
Special Effects: Juan Olmo, David Ambit
Visual Effects: Àlex Villagrasa
Cinematography: Pablo Rosso
Score: Mikel Salas
Editing: David Gallart
Studios: Canal+ España, Filmax International
Distributors: Filmax international (Spain), Magnolia Pictures (US)
Stars: Leticia Dolera, Diego Martín, Ismael Martínez, Àlex Monner, Sr. B, Emilio Mencheta, Javier Botet, Mireia Ros, Carla Nieto, April Jane Aningga, David Ramírez, Ramón Agirre, Blai Llopis, Xavier Ruano, José de la Cruz, Antonio Barroso, Toni Sans and Miguel Ángel González as John Esponja
Suggested Audio Wedding Cake
Tino Casal “Eloise”
One shitty slice of wedding sponge. That and a hellish hangover is all that many of us is left with after attending the nuptials of two people madly in love. They get to spend the day like Kings and Queens, sipping champagne from flutes and playing out their very own fairy tale but for the rest of us it is often a long, drawn out affair whereby we learn the meaning of ‘distant family’, bicker over seat placement and, if we’re lucky, wake up with one of the bridesmaids’ legs wrapped around our faces. I’m not crusading against marital vows or anything that mean, just stating the obvious. Weddings can be rather uncomfortable at the best of times.
Enter Paco Plaza, who gives us a real wedding crashing the likes of which will no doubt cause some rather long engagements. Both [REC] and its stellar sequel won many folk over with their hand-held approach and tight Shivers-like environments and even incited a direct American translation in the form of Quarantine. Whilst Genesis made its money back at the box office and pleased many with its fresh approach to the story, it enraged purists for choosing to step away from many of the themes explored, particularly in the second film. Gone was the quarantined apartment and, in its place, was a reception in full swing and its vast surrounding grounds. Plaza also chose to ignore particular plot threads left dangling at the end of [REC]2 and instead focus on making it an outright zombie splatterfest and that had many wings ruffled. Not mine.
When a film such as [REC]³ Génesis arrives, one must leave plausibility and expectation at the door and enter accordingly; as there is a cracking piece of nitrous-fueled madness just waiting to be enjoyed but only if you approach with an open mind. The first two films were both marvelous in their own right but, at some point, we all just need to move on. When a series such as [REC] is franchised it cannot keep up its original trajectory as it had done such a bang up job previously that there was precious little space to maneuver. At some point, like with the father of the bride, you must realize that your little baby is all grown up and release the apron strings somewhat. This is exactly what Plaza has done with Genesis and how can you logically argue with a blood spattered bride, sporting visible crimson thigh garter and wielding a chainsaw? Anyone? Nah, thought not.
Plaza unleashes his secret weapon at around the 20 minute mark when he forsakes the handheld shoot and storytelling approach in favor of a more traditional method of narrative and this feels rather like the veil has been lifted. Thankfully, the bride beneath is a beauty of Giallo proportions and it makes for a refreshing change. Keeper applauds this bolshy move as it enables us to see that much more of the lavish spread before us without twitching images and flailing arms obscuring our optical viewpoint. When it makes the switch it feels organic and Genesis begins to enter pleasingly familiar territory. It is hell-for-leather, 28 Vowels Later if you like, an absolute splatter-fest and as entertaining as a sack of inebriated squirrels.
The bloated cast begins to bottleneck and we are left with a handful of ‘lucky’ survivors which include the separated bride and groom and some larger than life characters. They’re all here; the deaf granddad, drunken uncle, plucky clergyman, dude too plump to fit in a vent… all the usual suspects. Hell, there’s even time for John Esponja, a Spongebob impersonator who is crack shot with a hunting rifle. It’s a real cosmopolitan array of family and friends and Plaza isn’t afraid to lace his wedding with some delicious black humor throughout when not painting the screen red.
The kills in the first half of the film are fleetingly observed as we have come to expect from a film of its ilk but, when the chainsaw revs for the first time, it’s all change and Genesis delivers some utterly transcendent grue. This is in stark contrast but works beautifully as the possibilities begin to open up and Plaza decides to go all in with style. The practical SFX are outstanding and it gushes in every conceivable direction as the level of depravity reaches previously unscaled heights. Any indiscretions or liberties taken are, at this juncture, completely forgiven as there’s a hot chick in a wedding dress slicing and dicing the guests…duh!
I feel that I have been a little ignorant in not introducing you further to the bride and groom of the piece and it pleases me to report that they are a match made in heaven. Diego Martín’s Koldo looks uncannily Colin Firth-like and blunders around in a suit of armor complete with shield, no less, as he attempts to relocate his new wife. Leticia Dolera is perfectly cast as femme fatale Clara who discovers a liking for spraying it around and wouldn’t look out-of-place in a Dario Argento movie. She is not in the slightest subservient and is instead sassy, sexy and regretfully taken as she only has eyes for her knight. This keeps things emotionally compelling and retains our investment as the extravaganza reaches its blood-addled climax.
Whether or not you enjoy [REC]³ Génesis for what it is depends largely on your mindset. Much like Army of Darkness, it marks a distinct departure from well-worn pastures old and this may needle those looking for a neatly woven trilogy. [REC] 4: Apocalipsis is almost upon us and the wheels they keep a turning so who are we to deny industry? As long as mindless carnage is on the cards it becomes a far less unpalatable transition. One thing is for sure, as far as zombie horde movies go, it is one bloody wedding worth crashing.
Crimson Quill’s Judgement: 8/10
Grue Factor: 5/5
For the Grue-Guzzlers: I’m supposed to have prepared a best man’s speech but, alas, the cherry punch got the better of me so here are a few randomly selected words to explain the carnage. Chainsaws, high heels, bone saws, King Arthur’s sword, dissection, evisceration, flesh gnawing, beheading. Sounds like the perfect wedding to crash.
Richard Charles Stevens
Keeper of The Crimson Quill
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