I love the REC films. When the first was released it came at a time when the world was already tiring of found footage, and we had already been saturated with a slue of zombie films. And yet REC used both premises in a way that was startlingly innovative, coherent and terrifying.
The crucial element was its believability. The zombie plague being born of medical experimentation in a top floor flat and finding its way down a building, the fact that an emergency services team (whose nightly exploits were being documented for a reality TV show) were called to the scene, even the quarantine of the building; all of these things are easy to accept in the context of the story, so there’s none of the usual “as if that would happen” state of mind that you get with found footage horror. Instead we are invested in the characters and the tension in a way that few horror films achieve.
Then with REC 2 the directors, Jaume Balaguero and PacoPlaza, took the courageous step to take the same story in a horrifying new direction by adding religious and occult elements to both the nature of the zombies and the origin of the outbreak. In doing so it provided a sequel that is as good, and in some places better than the original.
The recently released REC 3: Genesis is perhaps the weak link in the story, taking its action away from the original and feeling more of a tangent than a cohesive part. Saying that it’s still plenty of fun.
But with the trailer for REC 4: Apocalypse we are back with the original surviving character, now facing another enclosed outbreak situation, on a boat filled with the undead! Whilst the trailer suggests that this could be a step too far, it does still carry those signature horror beats and cinematic devices that made the original so fantastic. Here’s hoping the curse of the sequel-set-on-a-boat doesn’t affect this one (I’m looking at you Speed 2: Cruise Control).
Oh and by the way, the trailer is in Spanish and without subtitles, but I’m sure you can guess at what most of it is about (just read the above). See what you think: