“[REC] 3: Genesis” is the latest installment of the Spanish zombie horror franchise that inspired the American remake “Quarantine.” The films are spooky, fun and widely regarded as more terrifying than their American counterpart. But unlike the first two installments of the saga, “[REC] 3” does not follow the story of the first two films. It is filmed in many different styles, and has a unique blend of horror and comedy.
From the very beginning of the film, the audience discovers “[REC] 3” is not a dark, serious film. Rather, it is a fun, campy movie about zombies running amok at a wedding. Though this could be construed as a flaw — the third installment doesn’t seem to fit in with the dark and unnerving tone of the first two films — it seems director Paco Plaza wanted to take a break from the tone of the film’s predecessors and make a different movie altogether.
Regardless, it is still the most enjoyable of the three films. “[REC] 3” is a horror film like “Insidious,” “Drag Me To Hell” and “The Evil Dead.” The film is also a meta-love letter to the horror genre, trying to capture the style of almost every horror movie ever made. It begins as a handheld, shaky cam movie like “The Blair Witch Project” but then switches gears and turns into a traditional, steady camera horror movie.
It also becomes extremely gory — including a particularly intense death by chainsaw — reminiscent of contemporary horror films like “Saw” and “Hostel.” But then the score creates a different effect, with dance music and suspenseful jolts that seem inspired by campy ’80s horror films such as “Friday the 13th” and “A Nightmare on Elm Street.”
Going back even further, the film draws on ’70s films such as “The Omen” and “The Exorcist” with regards to religious elements. But most significantly, it has moments of intentional humor reminiscent of “Scream” and “The Cabin in the Woods.”
For all these reasons, it is very difficult to hate “[REC] 3,” even if it is very different from the other films in the franchise and not a true example of the horror genre. It contrives to win the viewer’s approval, and it generates great, entertaining moments. At the very least, horror fans will appreciate the movie as an example of horror-comedy done correctly.
A version of this article appeared in the Sept. 4 print edition. Gus Constantellis is a contributing writer. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.