[REC] 4: Apocalypse (2014) | The Spanish horror franchise takes one last bite!

[REC] montageJaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza’s Spanish zombie horror franchise [REC] has always been a winner in my books: genuinely scary, gloriously gruesome, and insanely inventive. The 2007 fright flick took the fad for shooting horror movies documentary-style to its zenith by setting the action in the claustrophobic confines of a Barcelona apartment block as Manuela Velasco’s cheery reality TV show presenter Angela witnessed first-hand a mysterious viral outbreak that turned the inhabitants into rabid flesh-eating zombies.

That film culminated in a nail-biting 10-minute finale, that screamed ‘sequel’ and fans got their wish two years later, where the grisly carnage continued in the same cramped, shadow-lit setting, but with a demonic twist added to the mix. Hailed as the best horror sequel since Romero’s Dawn of the Dead, [REC] 2 concluded with an infected Angela being rescued by the Spanish health authorities and taken to whereabouts unknown…

Director Paco Plaza went solo three years later for the blood-soaked [REC]3: Genesis, which ditched the found-footage formula and injected black humour as Leticia Dolera’s plucky chainsaw-wielding bride Clara took on her zombie-fied wedding guests. If [REC]2 was the Dawn of the Dead of the franchise, then Genesis was most certainly the Evil Dead 2 of the series.

[REC] 4: Apocalypse

For 2014’s [REC] 4: Apocalypse, director Jaume Balagueró returned to another claustrophobic setting. This time round its an oil tanker, where Angela is being held following her rescue from the quarantined apartment block at the end of the second film. But as she is now carrying the seed of the demonic virus, it’s not long before all hell breaks loose all over again…

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Relentless horror ensues as the tanker’s cramped confines become an incubator for the new outbreak. With copious amounts of gore, guts and blood spilled at every turn, it gets quite overwhelming by the halfway mark, and I kind of missed the tongue-in-cheek direction of the third outing. There is, however, a nod to Genesis when an elderly lady turns out to be the only survivor of the wedding massacre in that film. Thankfully, when the credits close out on this final entry in the franchise, our now hardened heroine does finally make it out alive… yeah!

A Spanish companion book to the series, entitled REC: El Libro Oficial, was released in October 2014 (click on the link for more details)

[REC] 4: Apocalypse is available in the UK on Blu-ray, DVD and steaming on YouTube from Enterainment One



About Peter Fuller

Peter Fuller is an award-winning print, radio and television journalist and producer, with over 30 years experience covering film and television, with a special interest in world cinema and popular culture. He is a leading expert on the life and career of Vincent Price and actively promotes the actor's legacy through publications, websites and special events.

Posted on March 17, 2015, in Horror, Might See, Might-See and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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