[REC] 4: Apocalypse

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What is it all about?

In the final part of the much loved and popular Zombie series of films, the dreaded virus strikes a boat where rampage and blood hits the waves.  Poor Angela is once more put right back into the nightmare, but this time……it could be a fight to the very end………..

The Hughes Verdict!

And so we finally come to the story all [REC] fans were desperate for…..

When I look back at [REC] 3, it reminds me of South Park and the joke the creators played on the fans after the cliff-hanging end of the episode “Cartman’s Mum is a dirty Slut!”  Waiting for the resolution of who exactly was the Dad of that foul mouthed kid, the fans were stunned when instead of seeing the second part, they were greeted with a one/off episode starring Terrance and Phillip, which led to a barrage of complaints and another week of waiting.

You could say the second sequel of this vastly popular Spanish set of films was exactly like that, the entry that no fan wanted and not many liked.  Its not like we need to watch that film to even understand this new and supposed to be final addition ( just a few scenes of dialogue about “that” wedding and also a minor character is all we get), so it does leave this horror fan baffled into why we had that kind of pointless entry which will no doubt become the Halloween III of this franchise.

[REC 4] starts with what we all wanted, Angela (Manuela Velasco) back in that damn tower block.  The scary conclusion to part two is shown again, with that evil worm crawling down her throat and our heroine becoming “the evil entity” all set to be lashed onto the world.  With a title like Apocalypse added to the main title, as a fan you can not help but expect all bets to be off and this sequel will be a crazy conclusion, blood flying, limbs scattering and the entire world all in danger.

But we do not get all that!  After the credits roll, you be forgiven to feel a little bit flat at what you have just witnessed, if this was supposed to be the grand finale, then something has gone seriously wrong within the writing department.

Only last week, I sat down and re-watched Flight Of The Living Dead, about Zombies running amok on a plane, its not the best film, entirely a B Movie, but a lot of fun and you could say [REC] 4 fits into that category.  Replace a plane with a ship and this is what you have, but surely a franchise which started off with two amazing films should aim higher than this,

Even the storyline has changed.  We get a brief return to familiar surroundings,  but then we see Angela wake up on a Government ship full of survivors and scientists.  Replacing a building for a ship is an obvious attempt by the writers to re-establish the claustrophobic vibe that served the original film well.   The hand held camera style which vanished in Part 3, is again absent but that is not the reason why this film does not work.  Yes we on a ship and yes, there is no escape on a vessel, but is that all we are getting? A kind of replica of the original but on the open sea?

The new additions to the cast are  GEO soldier Guzmán (Paco Manzanedo),  Dr. Ricarte (Héctor Colomé), computer geek Nic (Ismael Fritschi) and the only reminder of that wedding, an old women (María Alfonsa Rosso) who survived the bloodbath. These along with Angela, are the only stand outs with the remaining cast only there to become flesh eating maniacs.  What about that worm like creature?  Well we were led to believe that it was in Angela….but stupidly, she is not the one that is going to unleash the end of the world on us.  Instead we now have a kind of “The Thing ” rip off, in which we do not know who is now carrying “The Host”…..its a massive step back and a shock considering what was originally thrown to us.  While its brilliant to see Angela back in the franchise, to see her become the heroine again is another plot change and it did baffle me through out.

The comedy tone from Part 3 has vanished and director Jaume Balagueró directs with great style and vision, but despite the great pace at times, the entire film is just very dull.  The best scene is the moment the virus hits the ship, all thanks to a cook and an infected monkey, a scene which owes a huge thanks to GREMLINS.  How those on board become “The Running Dead” is a delicious dark taste to the horror mouth but just when the film starts to pick up, we back in familiar territory of the “zombies” coming from no where and trying to kill the remaining survivors….exactly like we saw in parts one and two, but without the verve or quality on offer.

I very much doubt I see a most disappointing horror sequel than [REC]4 in the year 2015.  Its clear that somehow after the events of Part 2, the franchise has badly lost its way.  The happenings of [REC]3 have no bearings to events on show here, which begs the question “why?”…..Angela back in full Ripley mode is great, but makes a mockery of that final scene in her last appearance and with so much riding on this to end the franchise with a bang,  what we have served to us is a bad CGI Monkey and a watered down version of what we all loved.

Yes, we get plenty of action scenes to delight us, but when it comes at the expense of quality scares, then you do begin to wonder if they have forgotten that they were actually making a horror film.

[REC] 4 like the film before it, is an oddity to a once promising franchise.  It “Jumps the Shark” with its concept and lacks everything we loved and adored concerning Angela and that tower-block.  With this promising to be the final sequel, perhaps it is right that the stop button is finally pressed on the record button and marvel at the memory that the first two films served up, but at the same time, question the massive missed opportunity, because make no mistake…..[REC] should have been the ultimate zombie franchise to beat, instead all fans will have nothing more than the taste of bitter regret………………

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

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About Ross Hughes 551 Articles
Since my mother sat me down at the age of five years of age and watched a little called Halloween, I have been hooked on horror. There is no other genre that gets me excited and takes me to the edge of entertainment. I watch everything from old, new, to cheap and blockbusters, but I promise all my readers that I will always give an honest opinion, and I hope whoever reads this review section, will find a film that they too can love as much as I do! Have fun reading, and please DO HAVE NIGHTMARES!!!!!!

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