2016.21: [Rec] Apocalypse (HD Streaming)
The fourth, and apparently the last entry (an unnecessary coda notwithstanding) in the [Rec] series of horror films from Spain. The films started as part of, and were indeed an highlight of, the ‘found footage’ subgenre but thankfully that’s pretty much dropped with this one, and it’s much better for it. There’s only so many ways you can move forward a plot with that hand-camera conceit without it feeling forced. So anyway, it’s a much more traditional horror film and it’s possibly actually the best of the four.
It follows on from Rec 2 (Rec 3 being something of a departure that can be dismissed continuity-wise) and by its end wraps up the saga nicely. It begins back in the first film’s apartment building infected by a virus that turns its victims into murdering monsters that are something between zombies and demons. Tv presenter Angela Vidal (Manuela Velasco) is rescued from the building just before it is destroyed and awakes sometime later out at sea on an oil tanker with three other survivors of the virus outbreak. The tanker is cut off from the outside world and is being used by medical scientists to investigate the nature of the virus and ensure the survivors are clear of infection. Of course, in the grand tradition of films like Alien, there are ulterior motives at work and there is another outbreak.
The film has a wonderful claustrophobic feel with everyone is out at sea on a quarantined ship and manages to ramp up the tension after a quiet early section that introduces the setting and new characters and motivations. Once it’s up and running though it’s an effective thriller/horror film, albeit fairly routine, with plenty of nods to genre favourites like Resident Evil and Aliens. The rapid shooting-style and great production design hides the films low budget well, and the make-up/monster effects are excellent. I’m not so sure how well some of the OTT acting works but some of that may be lost in translation (the film being in Spanish with English subtitles) and is something fans of the series will be used to by now.
Fans of the first two entries who were turned off by that dismal third film ( so bad I can’t honestly remember much of it other than it involved a wedding and was somehow a comedy) should feel safe to give this one a try, and will be rewarded by a film that brings it all to a decent enough conclusion. Its really a pity this film wasn’t the third part of a [Rec] trilogy, but I guess fans can pretend that other film never happened, and as such it makes for a decent horror trilogy indeed.