[REC] 4: Apocalypse (2014)

REC4 posterWhat a great way to start off the new year!! This fourth and possibly last film in the [REC] franchise proves that you can’t get enough of a good thing. This series has proven to be a solid, well-written, well-acted, and gory franchise. If you remember, writer-director team Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza worked on the first two films in the series and then Plaza went on to direct [REC] 3: GENESIS alone (Plaza wrote it with Luiso Berdejo and David Gallart). Now it’s Balagueró’s turn and where he didn’t hit this one out of the ball park, he definitely made it to third base. Balagueró co-wrote [REC] 4: APOCALYPSE with Manu Díez (who also co-wrote [REC] 2) and takes the franchise back to an isolated, dark setting — this time onboard an oil tanker in the middle of the ocean. I recently caught this one on Vudu.com but it is available on various other VOD platforms. 

Before watching [REC] 4 do yourself a favor and if you haven’t seen them lately, go back and watch the first three films over again. [REC] 4 incorporates the previous three films and makes one coherent storyline that runs throughout the entire franchise. The movie picks up right where [REC] 2 ended, with Ángela (Manuela Velasco), the reporter who found herself trapped in the apartment building in the first two films, being rescued from the building and waking up onboard an oil tanker cruising somewhere in the middle of the ocean. The tanker has been set up as a containment/quarantine ship to both make sure Ángela isn’t infected and to ensure that no new outbreaks of this strange infection hits any populated areas. Also onboard the tanker is Guzmán (Paco Manzanedo), a SWAT team member who rescued Ángela from the apartment building before it was blown up; Lucas (Críspulo Cabezas), another SWAT team member who was inside the apartment building; Dr. Ricarte (Héctor Colomé), the head doctor in charge of finding a cure for the infection; Ortega (Mariano Venancio), the captain of the tanker; Nic (Ismael Fritschi), the tanker’s communication and technology expert; and an old lady (María Alfonsa Rosso), who we find out is the only survivor of the outbreak at the wedding from [REC] 3. 

REC4 2Dr. Ricarte is finding it difficult nailing down a cure for the mysterious and deadly outbreak. This is not a spoiler, especially if  you’ve seen the previous films in the franchise, but Ricarte isn’t dealing with your run of the mill zombie virus. This virus is more “spiritual,” so to speak. The infected don’t turn into zombies, they turn into demons. Nasty, bloody thirsty demons hellbent on spreading the infection to all of humanity. Even after Ángela is cleared by the doctor as not being infected she might have more to do with what’s going on than was once thought. What did she encounter in that apartment building? What is Ángela hiding?

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Ángela is back & she’s kicking ass!!

The inevitable happens and there’s an outbreak on the tanker. The setting on the tanker was a nice touch. It’s even more isolated, dark, and claustrophobic than the apartment building and Balagueró utilizes the setting brilliantly. Balagueró also completely abandons the found footage style in this one, and I applaud him. There would’ve been nothing in this plot that could’ve supported yet another found footage setup. If you remember, in [REC] 3, Plaza only used the found footage format in the beginning and then switches over to a more traditional narrative style. But [REC] 4 is the only film in the franchise that doesn’t employ any found footage in it … and you won’t miss it. Balagueró keeps everything moving along at a nice pace. Once all Hell breaks loose on the tanker [REC] 4 becomes an insanely paced film where no cast member is safe!! Ultimately the source of the infection is discovered and I was surprised at the main cause. We know from the previous films that the infection has a religious origin, but we never found out what started it all. We’re given an explanation as to the ultimate cause of the infection as well as how it survived from the apartment building to the tanker. I dug the explanation and bought into it. It fits nicely into the world of the [REC] films.

REC4 4Like most films, this isn’t a perfect movie. For one, the title suggests (promises?) an “apocalypse,” but we never get one. The world unfortunately doesn’t end up infected and overrun with demons. But then again, [REC] 3 was titled “Genesis” and we didn’t get the origins of the infection explained in that film either. We also get some shaky camera work during the action scenes which makes it hard to see what’s going on at times. But with the solid performances and story, the pros definitely outweigh the cons. I also like how Balagueró ends the franchise but also leaves it open if the demand is strong enough for a [REC] 5.

REC4 1The [REC] films have proven themselves to be fan favorites (especially the first two) and [REC] 4: APOCALYPSE is a nice concluding chapter to the series. We may not get the apocalypse we all wanted but we do get a gory, fast-paced horror film. Definitely recommended.

My Summary:

Director: Jaume Balagueró (& co-writer)

Plot: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Gore: 7 out of 10 skulls

Zombie Mayhem: 4 out of 5 brains (we’ll substitute the ‘zombies’ for ‘demons’ here)

Reviewed by Scott Shoyer

Stay Bloody!!

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Comments
4 Responses to “[REC] 4: Apocalypse (2014)”
  1. R E says:

    I was so worried about Rec 4, as I’ve seen a lot of so-so and negative reviews. I’m glad somebody out there liked it!

    Like

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  1. […] [REC] 4: APOCALYPSE was a great way to start off 2015. DESECRATED … not so much. Talk about a movie that suffers from an identity crisis!! At one point the film wanted to be a stalk n’ slash film, then it wanted to be a horror film with a social commentary, and then it wanted to be a horror film with an anti-war message. Unfortunately it was none of these things. Directed by Rob Garcia, the problems really weren’t with the directing. Garcia tries to keep the pace moving forward and he gets some great shots of the surrounding landscape. The problem lies squarely with the script, written by Cecil Chambers. The story is unfocused, the characters are just about as one-dimensional as you can get, and the ending is unsatisfying.  […]

    Like

  2. […] [REC] 4: APOCALYPSE was a great way to start off 2015. DESECRATED … not so much. Talk about a movie that suffers from an identity crisis!! At one point the film wanted to be a stalk n’ slash film, then it wanted to be a horror film with a social commentary, and then it wanted to be a horror film with an anti-war message. Unfortunately it was none of these things. Directed by Rob Garcia, the problems really weren’t with the directing. Garcia tries to keep the pace moving forward and he gets some great shots of the surrounding landscape. The problem lies squarely with the script, written by Cecil Chambers. The story is unfocused, the characters are just about as one-dimensional as you can get, and the ending is unsatisfying. […]

    Like



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