[Rec] 4: Apocalypse, at best, successfully rebukes our own supposition that the flimsy and oft-incoherent [Rec] 3: Genesis, the first entry in the [Rec] franchise directed by Paco Plaza sans Jaume Balagueró, proved who the brains of this operation was from the start. This fourth, and ostensibly final, entry in the series, directed by Balagueró, is a similarly lazy indulgence of formula. The virus that tore through a Barcelona apartment building in the first two films, transforming tenants into hyped-up zombies, is now being tested by a shadowy group of scientists aboard a boat filled with small lab monkeys. It’s an absurdly inevitable recipe for disaster that begins as a work of bookkeeping, reintroducing us to Manuela Velasco’s television reporter, Ángela Vidal, the lone survivor of the apartment outbreak, and reminding us of the worm-like organism dropped into her gullet by the Medeiros girl at the end of [Rec] 2. The only acknowledgement of the third film is the presence of the blood wedding’s sole survivor, an old bitty whose senility is both made light of and marks her as the likeliest of dead meat. Though the tone of the film is less mismanaged than that of its predecessor, and the cramped corridors of the ship allow for the zombie attacks to exert an especially unnerving visceral charge, what resonates most strongly throughout is the sense of the filmmakers airing out their blatant and latent misogyny and racism. Among the robotic plot’s lowlights: the ship’s Filipino cook serving soldiers infected monkey meat; the extraction of the worm from Angela’s body suggesting both a gang rape and forced abortion; and the ingenuity with which the ship’s schlubby, candy bar-loving IT guy charges to the rescue. Whatever scant insight the prior films offered into Spain’s waning Catholic belief has now been entirely replaced by fascist, cartoonish shows of wish-fulfillment prevarication.
- Magnet Releasing
- 96 min
- Jaume Balagueró
- Jaume Balagueró, Manu Díez
- Manuela Velasco, Paco Manzanedo, Héctor Colomé, Ismael Fritschi, Críspulo Cabezas, Mariano Venancio, María Alfonsa Rosso, Carlos Zabala, Cristian Aquino, Emilio Buale, Paco Obregón, Javier Laorden
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