Last Wednesday night filmmaker Paco Plaza took on the responsibility of demonstrating that Spain makes genre cinema with a guarantee of quality, and the audience — Parisian and therefore demanding — responded with relish. The occasion was the world premiere of [REC]3 Génesis, the latest installment in a franchise that has managed to cross the Pond, generate two US remakes and be sold around the world. There’s nothing to compare it with in Spanish cinema, and for that reason more than 1,200 fans waited in line outside the doors of Paris’ legendary Grand Rex cinema to be the first to see the film in France, where it opens on April 4. In Spain, it is to be released on March 30.
Plaza wasn’t alone: accompanying him was his star, Leticia Dolera; the entire film crew; and family, friends and special guests, who included directors Kike Maíllo (Eva) and J. A. Bayona (The Orphanage). The only person missing was the other half of the franchise, Jaume Balagueró — creative producer on this third part, co-author, with Plaza, of the first two — who had to attend to other commitments in Barcelona.
The event began in true Spanish style — late — mostly due to the local organizers’ questionable decision to have a few of the living dead walk around the theater: fun at first but ultimately annoying. Then the lights went down and the screaming began. There were up to 15 rounds of applause during the screening: for a chainsaw, for a memorable line, for the judicious use of a blender on a besuited man’s face... Meanwhile, the Spaniards in the audience were captivated by different jokes: above all, those starring an inspector from the scandal-racked SGAE copyright-management agency — always a welcome subject in a blood-soaked movie.
The film moves the action out of the Barcelona apartment block of the first two films and to a nearby wedding, where one of the guests has been infected by the zombie plague. It swings between comedy, scares and drama with alarming ease and impressive results, with bride Dolera passing from posh girl to Sigourney Weaver in the Alien movies in the blink of an eye. If they dare to nominate her, she should be a favorite for next year’s Goya.