[REC]3: Genesis 

This Spanish zombie film can't find its footing in horror or laughs

The bloody, beautiful bride (Leticia Dolera)

The bloody, beautiful bride (Leticia Dolera)

The Spanish horror film [REC]3: Genesis starts cheerily. Surrounded by their friends and family, Clara (Leticia Dolera) and Koldo (Diego Martín) are getting married. But after an "infected" uncle starts tearing into guests — who in turn savagely bite others — this turns into the Zombie Wedding From Hell.

The "[REC]" in the awkward title refers to the "found footage," recorded by individuals at the wedding, though that style is abandoned after 20 minutes. The "3" denotes that this is the third in a series (I have not seen the other two), and "Genesis" is the story's big "twist."

Paco Plaza's film is a clunky, unsatisfying mix of horror and comedy. It's not particularly scary or suspenseful, and some of the plot mechanics were so hackneyed, I wondered if they were meant to be a send-up. But [REC]3 lacked the fresh approach, sharpness and evident glee of, say, self-aware predecessors both serious (Evil Dead) and mocking (Shaun of the Dead).

After all, is there anything new in zombiedom? Can the newlyweds hold back the people trying to eat them, and find happiness in a world where this unexplained event has occurred? They're sure gonna try, employing the standard complement of weapons (knives, guns, chainsaws and swords), plus an immersion blender, likely making its debut here as a zombie-killer.


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