So, happy horror hounds such as myself have been waiting for quite some time now for the definitive final installment of Catalonian and Spanish directors Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza‘s terrifying descent into darkness that began with [Rec] (2007), continued with [Rec] 2 (2009), and then was followed by the perhaps somewhat ill-advised [Rec] 3: Genesis (2012), which tangentally moved the action away from the doomed tenement building of the first two films, switching the style to ‘found-footage’ of a wedding afflicted by a similar terror.
Well, we’re back to minutes after the end of part two here, as late-night TV host Ángela Vidal (Manuela Velasco), whose insistence to ‘keep on filming’ ends with her being dragged into the depths by the entity that is, apparently, responsible for the horror that has engulfed a Spanish tenament building, emerges from the horror terribly shaken but otherwise unscathed. A SWAT team is about to burn the building to the ground when Ángela emerges and, when it seems that she is apparently uninfected, she is taken to a laboratory, location unknown, so that final tests may be completed, to ensure she is completely free of the terrible virus that turns humans into ravenous monsters, with the infection passed by their bite and the only way to stop them a shot (or worse) to the head.
In fact, when Ángela breaks free of her hospital bed straps and teams up, temporarily, with a member of the SWAT team who has also been taken, she discovers that the happy crew is in fact on the ocean waves, with a team of scientists working desparately on an anti-viral serum to combat the affliction. However, Ángela may be of far more use to them than they originally believed, as they discover when they watch her found footage, and witness the final encounter that took place between her and the monster in the darkness…
Thankfully, this is all still rather good – Balagueró opts for a slow-burn approach this time around, and it pays off in spades when the total horror that ultimately engulfs the film begins in earnest.
Of course, it probably won’t interest those who don’t bother to look beyond genre labels, more’s the pity, but in its execution, unflinching refusal to budge from its terrifying core and pell-mell, breathless action horror sequences, the trilogy is near unmatched in the horror genre, and it will be a long, long time before we see its like again. A belter, pure and simple.
96 mins. In Spanish.