Monday, May 18, 2015

Film Review: [Rec] 4: Apocalypse (2014)

[Rec] 4: Apocalypse (Review)
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"People will get chomped and shot, heads will explode, and monkeys will be shredded."

After the apartment quarantine, Ángela (Manuela Velasco) awakens in a secluded boat with staff, doctors, armed security, and other survivors...

[Rec] 4: Apocalypse is an immediate follow up to [Rec] 2 and Genesis. The story follows Ángela after she awakens on this ship. Ángela is joined by Guzmán, the special operations officer who saved her, and a timid elderly lady who survived the events of Genesis. As the doctors conduct their experiments in their controlled environment, the mysterious virus breaks out — as one would expect. So, as hell breaks loose on the ship, Ángela, Guzmán, and other survivors and boat staff decide to escape and, well, survive on their own. The narrative really isn't all that deep, but it works. I wish there were more thorough answers for the origin, outbreak, and virus, but it really doesn't offer that. The climax offers some interesting stuff, but the ending is your typical horror ending.

Despite a few shortcomings in the plot, [Rec] 4: Apocalypse is a great horror film. Well, it's a great action-horror film to be exact. You see, this film isn't really as frightening as the first, as thrilling as the second, or even as funny as the third. No, this time, Apocalypse opts for more of an action-oriented approach — and it works well. In fact, I'd say this combination worked better than the horror/comedy in Genesis. There are plenty of gory zombie/possessed deaths, tense fights for survival, and suspenseful chase scenes through claustrophobic corridors. People will get chomped and shot, heads will explode, and monkeys will be shredded. This film has plenty of adrenaline.

Like I said, it's not really scary or unnerving like the first two, but it's certainly entertaining. If you like zombies and aren't looking for something like the original [Rec] or The Walking Dead and want something a bit more nonchalant and action-oriented, this is for you. Although flawed, the story is very interesting, especially for fans of the series. No, not every question is answered, but there are some interesting explanations and revelations. The boat setting is also extremely refreshing. This setting really helps the film differentiate itself from the millions of dystopian and post-apocalyptic zombie movies and television shows out there. (maybe an exaggeration.) Also, there's still a pinch of humor, but it's not as heavy-handed as the third film. It got a few chuckles out of me, at least.

The cast is once again led by Manuela Velasco. Velasco delivers a strong, charismatic, and energetic performance as the leading lady. Paco Manzanedo and Héctor Colomé also offer great supporting performances. The film is shot well, I really enjoyed the camerawork, especially during some of the chase sequences — some of these looked epic thanks to the sheer scale. The music is also good. There were some questionable computer effects regarding a monkey early on in the film, but computer effects are thankfully hardly used. The practical effects, on the other hand, deliver the gory goodness you'd expect from zombie flick. Writer and director Jaume Balagueró crafts a by-the-books zombie film. It's not as groundbreaking as his original work, but he still manages to deliver an entertaining experience. There are some holes in the writing, but the film generally works very well as a zombie action/horror movie.

Overall, [Rec] 4: Apocalypse is a great action-horror film. It's a fast-paced, gory zombie adventure on a unique setting. It's also another departure from the original formula. Yet, it somehow still managed to keep me hooked. Now, I may have a schoolboy crush on Manuela Velasco, but don't think that had too much influence on my opinion of this film — I know a bad film when I see one. Although it's certainly different and there are a few flaws, I was once again thoroughly entertained. In fact, although it doesn't match the first two in terms of terror, I think this film was better than the third. If you can watch it without the "the original's always the best" attitude, I think you'll enjoy this gory, adrenaline-pumped thrill ride.

Score: 8/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and gore.

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