If you haven’t seen Rec or Rec 2, leave right now and change that immediately. Jaume Balaguero and Paco Plaza not only co-directed the original Rec, an instant classic and still the gold standard for found footage films, they also managed to do something even harder: direct an awesome sequel. The pair split up for the final two films in the series with Paco Plaza helming Rec 3 and Balaguero taking the final installment. So could Plaza match the incredibly high standards Rec and Rec 2 set? The short answer: no.
Rec 3 follows Clara and Koldo on their wedding day and we start off by seeing the action through a sort of video scrapbook of their big day. It’s a little slow going before we get to any real action, but following Clara and Koldo benefits the movie later on when you really are rooting for them. Once the chaos finally breaks out, Koldo is not a fan of the thought of filming his special day turning to shit and smashes the camera. Paco Plaza makes an interesting choice to do the rest of the film in standard 3rd person viewing, and this is where the problems with the movie start to appear.
Unlike its brethren before it, Rec 3 plays out as a much more comedic film. It also has a romantic tone to it with Clara and Koldo searching for each other for most of the movie. While I wish Plaza would have stuck with the serious undertones of the first two films, his decision wouldn’t have been as bad if it was pulled off with more skill, and specifically, less cheesiness. Everything from the way the scenes are shot to the music and soundtrack in the background came off as incredibly cheesy.
The most negative aspect about Rec 3 is that it is a part of the Rec franchise. If it was an entirely separate zombie wedding movie, this film would have been pretty enjoyable actually. However the expectations and potential a prequel to the Rec series had really weighed it down. When I originally heard Rec 3 was going to be a prequel, I was excited and immediately thought of the Medeiros girl’s backstory being explored. There’s so much potential story and horror to be sought after in her story, (the attic from Rec was literally filled to the brim with newspaper articles about her). How Medeiros originally got infected and all of that would have made for an awesome movie in my opinion. Why not explore the origin of the entire outbreak? After all, it is called Rec 3: Genesis. But instead, all we get is a quasi-related storyline with the only similarity to the originals being that Koldo’s uncle was also bitten by the little girl’s dog from the original apartment.
With that aside, there are some positives. Clara and Koldo are played as a couple truly in love and you want both of them to survive. The gore is also top notch here and there are a couple of really bloody scenes that should satisfy anyone looking for that. The chainsaw-wielding ninja-bride scene in particular was extremely enjoyable to watch and almost made the whole film worth sitting through by itself. Yet, by the time these scenes appear on screen, you’ve already sat through an hour of romantic comedy and they didn’t have nearly the payoff they should have.
Rec 3 isn’t necessarily a bad film, just disappointing. It’s worth checking out if you’re a fan of the series, but be prepared for something of a completely different tone. It can even be viewed as a standalone movie for those looking for a decent one time watch. Hopefully Jaume Balaguero can pick the series back up with Rec 4 and give this franchise the ending it deserves.