FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE, so beware yon spoilers!

Oct 13, 2015

Day 13: [REC] 4: APOCALYPSE (2014)

Well then. You know, way back in 2008 or whenever it was that I saw [REC] for the first time there is no way I would have or could have predicted that for SHOCKtober 2015 I would be talking about [REC] 4 and that it would end with (spoiler, I know) an exploding ocean liner, for Chrissakes. But here we are, what a world! Life, right? Totally a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get, etc etc. Although really, you should know what you're going to get because boxes of chocolates have those maps that tell you what chocolates are where.

Intrepid reporter and star of [REC] Ángela Vidal (Manuela Velasco) has been rescued from that infected-riddled apartment building in Barcelona. Hooray! Now she is quarantined on an ocean liner with other survivors, a group of doctors working on a cure, and a small army tasked with making sure no one escapes. Boo!

Anyone who's seen a horror movie before knows that it will only be a matter of time before we come to a VIRUS, THOU ART LOOSED! moment and the infection will spread and people will die. And...that's pretty much what happens. The virus mutates and it's like [REC] jacked up on bath salts and PCP; everyone is super gross and super fast and super strong. The action feels very 28 Days Later, if you know what I mean–quick cuts, flashes of blood and gore, teeth, heads pummeled. That sort of thing.

Wait–"quick cuts"? Yessir! While [REC] 3 ditched the found footage format a third of the way in, Apocalypse is like "Hey, why bother at all?" We get a bit of security camera footage (and clips from the first two films because Ángela's camera was recovered), but that's it. This is a zombie movie. (Yes, yes..."infected." You know what I mean.) As such, it's perfectly serviceable, but nothing remarkable and certainly not scary whatsoever. If [REC] is Alien and [REC] 2 is Aliens, Apocalypse is like Aliens directed by Marcus Nispel. It's fine, but disposable–much like Genesis, however, the change of style and tone is surprising since it comes courtesy of Jaume Balagueró, one of the franchise's co-creators.

Unfortunately, our heroine spends at least half of the film basically wandering around, looking on as things happen around her. I don't need her to be a "badass" or anything, and I understand she's had a couple of really really terrible days. Exceptionally terrible! But even when she snaps out of it, she's still fairly blah, running solely on fumes of self-preservation. This is not the Ángela Vidal we know and love, the one who's in front of the story, the one who insists the camera keep rolling. I guess I wanted her to take control and figure shit out and help herself and anyone she could rather than stand around until her life is threatened and then she runs away. I don't know–this isn't the awesome girl reporter I wanted, but maybe this is the one I deserve.

The nature of the virus is further explored, and boy, the reasoning behind the infection mutates faster than the infection itself. Is it simply a rabies-type virus, demonic possession, or...something else? I mean, this is the fourth film, and explanations are about as good as they're gonna get. I suppose I was satisfied enough, although frankly I was perfectly satisfied in 2008 and didn't need anything else. I certainly didn't need the last five seconds of Apocalypse...please, please let this be the end. We had a good thing together, [REC], but it's time for you to shuffle back upstairs and lock yourself in the dark attic again.


matango said...

Hm. I had heard this was awful, but I will have to check it out.

These Spaniards should make more horror movies; they are pretty good at it. Not as (sometimes off-puttingly) avant garde as the French, but inventive and much stronger at putting together plots that make sense than they used to be (in like the Blind Dead era).

Stacie Ponder said...

It might have been awful, keep your expectations low for sure! It's action-y zombie movie, really. Quite predictable. But it was well made, and...maybe I'm still reeling from that trash pile Devil Seed? I didn't hate it, but I have no desire to ever see it again.

And I agree–the Spaniards know what's up! There are some real gems out there.

matango said...

Often I find there are horror movies I find to be utterly awful but with maybe a good scene, theme, or other element. There are of course great ones that come out (two to three per year, recently, it seems), but after watching enough rough without a diamond, I'm fine with something that is basically just a competently made movie.

Stacie Ponder said...

For a horror fan, "Well, that wasn't TERRIBLE" is basically the equivalent of an Oscar nomination!

Nicholas Kaufmann said...

I agree with you wholeheartedly. After [Rec] and [Rec] 2, both of which I thought were amazing, this and Genesis were real disappointments. The lesson here is that they never should have left the apartment building. It was an important character in its own right, and both movies that abandon it falter without it.

CashBailey said...

I have to respect that the creators of the series stayed on and actually took the franchise in different directions. They didn't just churn out the same pile of crap over and over again.


Stacie Ponder said...

I do respect them for trying different things for sure–same with Blair Witch 2! I doubt I'll watch either 3 or 4 again...well, maybe 3, it was fun. They're just...not [REC]. Alas. I didn't hate either one of them, so that's something.

Yummy Pizza said...

I joined in and saw it too and I pretty much agree with everything you said. Perfectly serviceable, action-y zombie movie! My expectations were low, and maybe that was why I groaned less at this than I did at [REC]3 where my expectations where kind of super high.

And I agree about Angela Vidal. SPOILER: One thing I WAS hoping for was Angela going all Medeiros girl and Devil-thrash the place up. I really thought that heroine Vidal wasn't even on the table. This girl had Satan inside her and man was she gonna make people suffer, preferably whilst transforming into the girl from the attic. It was clear pretty early on that wasn't gonna happen though, so I kind of dropped it, but I had a lingering thought of "What if? Wouldn't it had been cool if..." throughout the movie. C'est la vie, comme ci comme ca, pomplemousse, Gerard Depardieu, et cetera.

Fun to join Shocktober though! I need to watch more movies.

Erich Kuersten said...

I'm going to stick up for Genesis, which I liked better than the first two BECAUSE it didn't need the found footage - because the whole wedding video aspect was so perfect - I mean how great to have all your extended friends and family assembled in one enclosed space, dressed to the nines and then have all plummeting from the Grand Prospect Hall-style balconies in their tuxes and dresses, trying to kill you, to metaphorically carve you up like a wedding cake? As for the Spaniards being great at horror movies, I'm not terribly convinced --those Blind Dead movies are a real bummer- how many slow mo skeletons on horseback can you watch before you just lose your faith in the genre all together? They're way better than the Portuguese, though. Good lord.