I don’t know what it is about the Blu-ray format, but when you just get through bashing a film over the weekend, and then the Blu-ray arrives at your doorstep, it’s like a cool breeze blows over you and you forget past transgressions. This is almost what happened with the REC 3: Genesis Blu-ray that arrived today from the UK. I popped in the Blu-ray and almost forgot how forgettable it was when I first watched it last month via VOD. This past weekend I was a guest on Out Now with Aaron and Abe (our very own Aaron Neuwirth’s podcast) and we all spoke in great length about this latest installment in the REC series in addition to the previous films. I don’t think I liked it any less than I originally did, but the Blu-ray as a whole is a totally different beast altogether. That brings me to our review of the Blu-ray. I will be re-printing my previous thoughts on the film itself in the “Film” portion of this review, with the technical specifications, extras, and summary being all new content. Let’s get it started then.
*The film portion of this review has been reprinted from our earlier review HERE – there may or may not be spoilers involved, so read at your risk.
REC 3: Genesis opens up with peculiar montage of music and pictures from a digital photo album. We come to find ourselves that the couple on the DVD photo album is none other than Clara (Leticia Dolera) and Koldo (Diego Martin), who are set to be married on this day. It’s a traditional Catholic ceremony, guests litter the joint, and we have someone taping the ceremony on a handheld camcorder. Yes, we are on familiar territory and I am just waiting for the proverbial shit to hit the fan.
The first 15-20 minutes of the film does a great job of setting up the impending doom, and for those keeping track, there’s someone in the party that got bit in the hand by a sick dog at a veterinary hospital, but seems to be doing okay. Yes, that’s tie-in number one. Once everyone gathers up inside for the reception, we see men in strange bio-hazard uniforms taking readings around the bushes. Hmmm, what are they looking for? That’s tie-in number two.
Oh, before I forget, the man that had the dog bite was Koldo’s uncle. He’s no one. As the reception gets started and Clara and Koldo hit the dance floor the cameraman notices Koldo’s uncle on the upstairs balcony about to black flip down on a table. Well, after crashing down on the table and guests – one could say that dinner is served and hell has been unleashed.
Hell gets unleashed and Clara and Koldo are separated form each other. This is about 15-20 minutes into the film, when Koldo asks the cameraman why he’s filming? The cameraman responds with “we have to document EVERYTHING!” Koldo takes the camera and smashes it to pieces. This is where we shift from the “real world” into the “film world” and where my much beloved horror franchise takes a nose dive into mediocrity. When we come back to the film we’re in their world as opposed to them being in our world. There’s a cheesy thumping score that carries the film in addition to some quirks here and there.
It’s almost like a Spanish Evil Dead film from here on out. The gore continues to rule, but some of the character’s motivations become cliched and dumb, as the film plays out. There are certain scenes that are supposed to play off as creative, but end up falling flat (mainly the knight and his trusty squire homage). The third tie-in to the previous films would have to be that the possessed are all possessed by the same demon: La Niña Medeiros. That’s actually a pretty cool concept and I liked the way it was executed – in the mirrored reflections of the possessed. What I didn’t like is that the possessed didn’t act like they were possessed like they did in the first two films. They acted like run-of-the-mill zombies. You had your “walkers,” “stumblers,” “runners,” and none of them spoke. This went totally against the rules that were set up previously.
The tonal shift of the film is what’s most aggravating, because I stopped caring for anyone. Believe me, if you watch the first two films, that shit is brutal, scary, and it sucks you right into a believable world. Genesis does not. I did like the fact that Clara and Koldo were so bonded by love that they never stopped searching for each other while trying to escape the horde of possessed zombies (er, demons), but when she kicks off her heels and displays some hardcore fighting ability, I was pretty much through. Don’t get me wrong, it looked cool and Leticia Dolera is beautiful, but where did she learn how to fight and where did she learn how to wield a chainsaw with such precision? Get the fuck outta here!
When the film ended, it left me with more questions than answers. Okay, it pretty much only answered ONE question and that was that La Niña Medeiros is the only demon and that when someone is bitten or chewed to shit then she transfers into them. That’s pretty cool, I think, but what was the rest about? The biggest mistake, in my opinion, was making a found footage film into a fictitious film. I’ve seen this technique used before (Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon), but the tonal shift is what kills it. If they were going to do that with REC 3 then the tone should have remained the same when we switched from camcorder to film – consistent all the way through.
I didn’t hate the film, but I sure as hell didn’t love it like I was almost programmed to. I thought the special effects make-ups were great and appreciated all the blood letting. I just wasn’t a fan of how it went from something that had already been established into something that it wasn’t. Genesis really doesn’t move the series forward, which means that REC 4: Apocalypse will have to hit it out of the ball park in order to keep some of the fans that it will most definitely lose after this entry. I guess I’ll see you guys in about year.
REC 3: Genesis is presented in 1080p, 1.78:1 (for the handheld footage), and 2.35:1 (when handheld switches to film). The VOD presentation has nothing on this stellar Blu-ray. With exception the cruddy handheld footage that’s supposed to look somewhat degraded, the portion that was shot on film looks pretty amazing. Flesh tones looked natural; you could see just about everyone glisten from the sweat and the rain to every single blood droplet there is. The filmmakers used lots of crazy lighting all over the place, which lends itself very well to high definition. That, and it also helps that the wedding reception had a fancy lighting system, too. There is a bit of softness in addition to some slight contrast boosting, but it doesn’t interfere with the color scheme of the overall picture. Banding was never a problem and neither is was edge enhancement. They should have just shot the entire thing in film mode and gotten themselves a perfect score in the video department. As it stands, the video presentation is near reference.
REC 3: Genesis is presented in Spanish DTS-HD MA 5.1. Without a shred of doubt this Blu-ray is reference in the audio department. Dialogue is extremely clean and crisp even through the maddening chaos. Surround channels carry every ambient sound, growl, tune, without any problems at all. The LFE channel handles the low booms without distortion or rattle. Music is creatively centered – vocals in front – instruments are placed on the left and right channels; traditional and dance music are featured in the film. Look out for the various scenes of arterial spray – don’t get any blood on you, because it will seem like it’s being sprayed in your general direction from all channels. I really can’t say enough good things about this incredible lossless track!
REC 3: Genesis on Blu-ray contains over two hours of extras, which are actually pretty decent. There’s a 2-hour documentary containing every aspect of what went into the making of the film itself. I actually found the documentary much more exciting than the film itself, but that’s just me. Deleted scenes and outtakes round out the Blu-ray package. They’re presented in Spanish with English subtitles. The subtitles are also removable.
- REC 3: Genesis - Preparing A Bloody Wedding
- Deleted Scenes
Well, I think I liked the Blu-ray presentation of REC 3: Genesis more than I did the actual movie. I still say that it was a mistake in changing the tone, because it’s totally incongruent to what came before it. There’s way more humor, and by shifting into full film mode, it loses the realism that was so prevalent in the first two films. It ceases to be scary anymore. This Blu-ray import from the UK contains some great video and amazing sound, with some very cool extras thrown in for good measure. The Blu-ray is REGION B and will only work on region-free Blu-ray players, so please make a note of that. This UK version (for the Spanish speaking crowd like me) has removable English subtitles, so you can watch the film all the way through in its native language. Flip them back on when you have non-Spanish speaking company over. Cool tidbit: I have the first REC Blu-ray from Spain, the REC 2 Blu-ray from Japan, and now the REC 3 Blu-ray from the UK. Is that dedication or what? Here’s hoping that REC 4: Apocalypse rights the wrongs that were committed in REC 3: Genesis.
Order REC 3: Genesis on Blu-ray!