This week I’ve been getting excited about a lot of things- I’m a film geek, it comes as second nature. But, not only am I a film geek, I also happen to be a horror crazed gore-hound who has been getting especially excited about this year’s FrightFest and some of the awesome blood soaked delicacies we are being treated to. Top of the billing for me is the third instalment in what must be one of the most original and genuinely terrifying modern horror franchises; Rec 3.
This time around Paco Plaza escorts us away from the claustrophobic confines of an inner city apartment block and places the action at the lavish wedding ceremony of Clara and Koldo, who have no idea just how soon death will be parting them.
The demonic spirit possessing the Medeiros girl in the first two films used the body of the TV reporter to escape the tower block at the end of Rec2 despite the lengths gone to to contain the ‘virus’. We may assume that between that point and the kick off of Rec 3 the nasty little devil has been making its way across sunny Spain leaving a trail of crazed blood-thirsty cannibals in its wake. And what an ideal place to catch up with the action- a picture perfect celebration of love and happiness, a joyous occasion shared by family and friends- until they start trying to eat each other!
Alternatively, given the full title is Rec 3: Genesis, this film may chart the outbreak of the virus before it ever reached the apartment block- which is difficult to try and piece together considering the (somewhat unexpected) explanation that we were given at the end of Rec 2. If the virus was spawned through the demonic possession of a young girl holed up in a penthouse by crazy Catholics then how could it have started elsewhere? Unless there are several ‘demons’ involved here setting off lots of little apocalyptic plagues up and down the country. Whichever theory is right we are assured that Rec3 does indeed tie in with the first two films but beyond the initial virus may bear little resemblance to them.
For those of you not familiar with the Spanish Horror juggernaut which is Rec 1 and 2 (just don’t judge them on the merits of the ridiculously lame American remakes Quarantine), the films practically reinvented the zombie/living dead genre and, more importantly showed the rest of the world the RIGHT way to do found footage horror- blowing the socks off anything America has created (I spit on your Paranormal Activity). In true European style Paco Plaza, accompanied at that time by Jaume Balaguero created a truly terrifying concept and executed it with perfection.
Rec3 Genesis hit the hype cycle some time ago and bits and pieces have been appearing on the internet for months now. Beyond the standard trio of trailers you can find an assortment of clips and teasers that are sure to keep eager horror fans waiting with baited breath.
What about the poster? Well if a blood soaked bride brandishing a chainsaw doesn’t sell it to you I’m not sure what else could! Head on over to Bloody Disgusting to witness Clara unleash her fury on infected family members in an exclusive clip from the film. The whole campaign clearly plays on the irony of the wedding setting and the morbid subversion of ‘the happiest day of my life’.
The most recent international trailer to hit the web even opens with a perky little ‘dearly beloved’ speech –although I have my objections to a cheesy American voice-over for a Spanish horror film. It doesn’t need ‘Westernising’ thank you very much.
The trailer reassures us that there will be some found footage coverage within the film but after the discovery of the outbreak the handhelds are dropped and Plaza returns, for the rest of the film, to a more cinematic approach, distancing this installment from what made its predecessors so iconic. We needn’t be worried, however, that this will somehow make Rec3 less thrilling or frenzied than the first two as Plaza seems to have that well under control.
What is obvious from watching the various trailers is how this one seems to be lighter in tone. Being that almost the entirety of the other two films are shot inside a sealed building at night, there is very little natural light- the characters stumble around with limited vision and are even forced to venture into complete darkness for the sequels terrifying penultimate scene. But here we see much of the action takes place in broad daylight; a tactic being employed more and more frequently by horror film makers of recent years to go against the grain of expected genre conventions. Plaza himself has spoken about how he set out to deliver something that the fans wouldn’t be expecting- hence his departure from all the stylistic touches fans of Rec 1 + 2 may be looking out for. With a much bigger budget behind it and Plaza’s firmly cemented reputation for delivering the goods- Rec3 looks set to be a much bigger hit commercially than its predecessors that both had limited cinematic releases outside Spain but found their fame through the DVD market.
But the marketing campaign doesn’t end there, enthusiastic fans can visit the Tumblr or Flickr account of the ill fated fiances where you’ll find, amongst the wedding invitations, playlists and seating plans, an assortment of zombified movie posters (my favourite has to be Sex and the Zombies). Its a somewhat half arsed attempt at expanding on social media marketing but ties in well with the tone of the films official (Spanish) website which nicely juxtaposes the white and pink wedding iconography with images of blood splattered zombies and carnage. Its a difficult one to navigate, and doesn’t have the best of designs but you can still find a lot of interesting stuff there. Unfortunately the making of videos don’t have any English subtitles but if you are interested in hearing more from Paco Plaza there are many translated interviews to be found with him across the wonders of the web (If you are super keen then why not head over to his blog?)
So, many questions raised by the build up for Rec 3- not least of all how a viral outbreak at a suburban wedding is connected to a Catholic cover-up of possessed children. But also- why does the Groom appear to be wearing battle armour? No doubt all shall be revealed in what looks set to be the bloodiest and most bombastic installment of the series yet.
Rec3 Genesis plays at Frightfest this year on Friday the 24th of August, those not lucky enough to have a festival pass can be individual tickets when they go on sale later this month.