Horror films tend to rely on the unknown that scares on. The closer we get to the monster and the more times we see it it frightens us less and less. This is what most horror franchises revolve around the defeating the monster at the end and then he comes back from the dead in the next film – Friday 13th series is a perfect example. I guess you could compare some horror franchises to comfort food, to you they are familiar and have no way of scaring you. The REC series has luckily not fallen into this trap. It basically tells two stories at the same time about the same incident and it works extremely well. After the success of REC and REC 2, another sequel was inevitable. The two directors have decided to split up, Paco Plaza directs REC 3 and Jaume Balaguero is to direct REC 4: Apocalypse. Abandoning the familar apartment building tht we see in the previous two films REC 3 starts off with the same hand held camera style from several different perspectives of a wedding in progress in Spain. 15 minutes in, just as things are about to get a bit crazy a camera is broken and dropped, the titles come up and then we are thrown back into a movie. There is no more POV style camera techniques. It almost feels like Plaza has gone completely away from what originally made the REC series a bit different from all the other mockumentary films. The wedding is interrupted as Uncle Victor turns into a savage and people start to turn into zombies. While the director delivers some rather visually pleasing sequences by playing with the newfound special effects such as slow motion and quick cuts some of the intensity that was in the first two films is lost in this film.
The tension and scare factor that we saw in the first two films is replaced by humour and blood and gore which makes for some very interesting deaths. Throughout the film Koldo (Diego Martin) and Clara (Leticia Doren) try and reunite with each other while this zombie apocalypse is going on. We learn a little more about the creatures themselves in this film, but, as often happens the more we see them the less scary they are. In the first film they were scary but now not so much. It’s the old ‘the more you see them the less scary they are’ cliche. There are some references to the first two films, one example is when the camera focuses on a TV in the background that is showing a report of the incident in the apartment block that was in the first Rec film. The one thing that isn’t really mentioned much is actually a rather important piece of this puzzle – the Meidoros girl. The only time that there is a reference to her is when two of the infected are seen in a mirror and we see her. This time instead of seeing her via the nightvision on the camera in the first REC film, we see her in full colour.
All in all I do think this film is a rather good sequel to the other two although it could be seen as a stand alone film because of the change in film style. Personally I liked it although the tension and suspense that I experienced wasn’t as intense in REC 3. It may not be to everyone’s taste but it is a rather confident addition to the REC series.