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.