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Monday, 2 March 2015

DVD Of The Week: [REC] Apocalypse (2014)


Picking up the action from the end of [REC] 2 - itself a continuation of the original [REC] - [REC] 4: Apocalypse opens with a small military unit entering the quarantined Barcelona tower block, with the aim of blowing it up. However, they find the sole survivor, elfin TV news reporter Ángela Vidal (the absolutely gorgeous Manuela Velasco).

Ángela awakens in a medical facility, that is very quickly revealed to be (as we all knew anyway), a ship that has been commandeered by the authorities as a floating laboratory to try and find a cure for the virus.

As well as the two surviving soldiers from her rescue, Ángela also finds on board the last survivor of the wedding party seen in [REC] 3 - Genesis, a confused old lady (María Alfonsa Rosso) completely oblivious to what went down at the wedding.

Naturally, things very quickly fall apart as a viral test subject escapes (is set free?), food becomes infected and in no time at all everything goes to hell in a very bloody hand-basket and the uninfected find themselves trapped on the claustrophobic ship as it heads into a violent storm.

Rather than aping other zombie flicks, [REC] 4 takes its inspiration from the Aliens franchise (a comparison I also made in my review of [REC] 2) and is all the better for continuing to put a fresh spin on the zombie genre.

The found footage/POV camera gimmick from the earlier entries in this series has been abandoned, but that idea still plays a key part in the story, with Ángela's footage from the tower block providing an important clue as to what is going on and frequent references to the ship's internal security cameras illustrating the spread of the chaos and carnage.

As well as the evidence from Ángela's camera, the newspaper clippings seen in the first movie are also referenced, tying that sub-plot in nicely.


However, this is where the film rather falters, although lip service is paid to the "demonic" angle of the infection, nothing is really done with it as the explanation for the virus reverts to a more mainstream one as the scientists on the ship discover it is a host-hopping parasite.

While this is handled well, it was the supernatural twist in the first three movies that gave the [REC] zombies a special flavour.

Getting rid of this angle was a serious mistake as it reduces [REC] 4 to the level of "just another zombie flick" (with its primary uniqueness coming from its setting), which the previous movies most definitely weren't.

Although, [REC] 4: Apocalypse has been set up as the conclusion of the franchise - and it provides a decent enough wrap-up to the most consistently strong zombie film series to date - it does leave the door open for a new episode on a grander scale.

And I, for one, wouldn't mind seeing more of Manuela Velasco's Ángela Vidalin action...

2 comments:

  1. She is gorgeous. I could watch her get chased all day long.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like the fact that she's pretty much the ultimate "Final Girl" and even without superpowers could give Buffy a run for her money.

      Delete

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