Reviewed by Andy
Paco Plaza takes the reins solo from the previous partnership with Jaume Balagueró in second-sequel-that’s-also-a-prequel [.REC]3. With the first two films in the zombie saga enjoying great success without the backlash that usually follows in the found-footage genre (Troll Hunter which showed at Frightfest 2011 was another rare exception), expectations were high for the third installment which was to set up as well as add to the mythology of the first two films.
It starts usually enough with handheld cameras recording a wedding but there are two major changes – the handheld footage is eschewed in favour of “regular” style of filming after the first act, and there is the introduction of quite a lot of comedy into the mix. Both work pretty well – the action is clearer and there’s no annoying shakycam to deal with for the majority of the film, and there are lots of genuine laughs from good writing and amusing characters (credit especially there to John Sponge!). The romantic thread from the newlyweds who seek each other having been separated in the chaos manages to be strong without getting too cheesy, and the additions to the background about the nature of the zombies are intriguing too.
But the problem is that the tone and feel has changed – if this is your first entry to the franchise it’s not too much of a problem, but having the number 3 on it makes it unlikely and so it doesn’t sit right in its place as is. As a standalone RomZomCom it’s great, or even as a [.REC] spinoff it would be absolutely fine, but that it isn’t will annoy alot of series fans, which is a shame. Good entertainment value, but a bit mismarketed! ***