Well, it is about time to wrap up the demonic zombie movie series. I have to admit that the original [REC] franchise is probably my second favorite series of zombie movies, falling behind the Romero movies obviously. Because zombie movies tend to be a bit repetitive as far as the general theme goes, it was great that this one made a real effort to try and be more original, and follow through with the main story for the whole series. So let’s see how the finish up with today’s movie, [REC]4: Apocalypse.
The plot: In Barcelona, a military Special Forces team enters the quarantined apartment building and begins setting explosive charges inside. When the charges are set, they start to evacuate when they are attacked by an infected Manu (the firefighter from the first movie) and another infected person. The two infected men are killed but two of the soldiers team were bitten and the other two are forced to shoot them. With three minutes before the detonation, the two soldiers go to leave when they hear Angela screaming for help and one of the men, Guzman, goes up to find her and bring her out. When Anela comes too, she finds herself strapped to a medical bed and Doctor Ginard is examining her. Ginard asks Angela if she remembers anything and she tells him no as he takes a blood sample to see if she is carrying any sign of the infection. Meanwhile, Guzman finds himself in a storage room, with a medical bracelet and band-aid indicating that he had also had blood taken from him. Leaving the room, he wanders a hallway to try and figure out where he is when he encounters an old woman asking about a wedding (revealing she had somehow survived the events of the previous film). Guzman says he doesn’t know where they are but tells the woman to wait there while he goes to find out. Meanwhile, Ginard takes Angela’s blood sample to Dr. Ricarte, who runs another test on it, explaining that since Angela was in the building for 6 hours, they have to make sure she is clean. Back in the lab, Angela manages to get out of her restraints and tries to escape from the soldiers chasing after her. She runs into Guzman, who helps her get away only for them to realize that they are on a boat out at sea. As the soldiers surround them, Ricarte approaches them and says that Angela’s test came clean and has her escorted to her cabin to rest. He then speaks with Guzman for a few minutes concerning the need for isolation, explaining about the second incident at the wedding, then introduces Guzman to Captain Ortega, the ship’s captain. Ortega shows Guzman around the ship, introducing him to Goro, the first mate, and Nick, the radio operator and IT man, and the explain some of the problems they are having with Ricarte and the soldiers on board, primarily the overloaded generators which has been causing blackouts, their completely being cut off from the outside world, and the disabling of the lifeboats, essentially trapping them on the ship. During mealtime, Guzman is reunited with his partner Lucas and the two men discuss the situation they are in. Guzman goes back up to see Nick, who had been working on retrieving the footage from Angela’s camera, and asks him about the security cameras that the army had installed. Nick explains that he hacked them, which is how he knew Angela had been brought on board, and says that they have camera everywhere except one area of the lab, but the lab itself closed off with a keypad to prevent unauthorized access. That night, there is another blackout and while some of the soldiers go down to yell at the engineer, Guzman and Angela run into each other as they wander around the corridors. The next day, Guzman takes Angela to the bridge and introduces her to Ortega, Goro, and Nick, who tells her he is her biggest fan. Angela sees Nick working on retrieving the camera footage and stares at the images being displayed on screen. In the lab, Ricarte and Ginard head into the restricted area and discover that “the host” is gone, and Ginard wants to raise the alarm but Ricarte stops him. Checking the restraints, Ricarte determines someone let it out during the blackout and has some soldiers follow him as they go to retrieve it. Meanwhile, in the galley, the cook is preparing the next meal when he is attacked by an infected monkey (the host) and manages to kill it, but not before it bites him. A short time later, most of the soldiers, along with Goro, are in the dining hall and proceed to eat the food, not knowing that it is infected with the cook’s blood. When Guzman, Angela, Lucas, and the old woman (Koldo’s grandmother) enter the galley as the others are leaving, Lucas goes to see the cook and discovers that he is infected. Locking the cook in the refrigerator, Lucas warns the others not to eat the food just as Ricarte and his team show up. When Ricarte hears about the chef, he has Guzman accompany him and Ginard, then explains that they had been working on an anti-viral in case a future outbreak occurs but when he administers it to the cook, it doesn’t work and they tell Guzman and the others to stay there while Ricarte and his team head back to the lab. Lucas pleads for them to get them off the ship and it is revealed that he was ordered to grab a sample of the infected blood at the apartment building to give to Ricarte. Guzman decides that the safest place for them will be on the bridge and the grab some knives from the kitchen and start heading there when they encounter an infected soldier and Guzman kills him, then grabs his weapon and shoots him in the head. Meanwhile, Nick had finished restoring the camera’s footage and sent it to Ricarte’s lab, then starts watching the security cameras and sees the soldiers killing people. He alerts Ortega, who has him lock the bridge while he calls down to the engine room to warn the engineer to stay in the engine room. When the engineer ends up being attacked by one of the infected soldiers, their fight damages the engine, causing the ship to lose oil pressure. Meanwhile, Guzman and the others are attacked by another infected person as well as a monkey and they manage to kill the attackers but Koldo’s grandmother runs off during the fight and Lucas goes after her. Guzman and Angela make it to the bridge and Nick lets them in but they learn that the ship is losing oil pressure and won’t be able to go anywhere but Ortega decides to try and start the backup engine so they can return home. Back in the lab, Ricarte determines that their efforts are wasted and prepares to use explosives to detonate the ship and contain the outbreak but his assistant tells him they have the camera footage. They see what Tristana did to Angela and Ricarte says that they have to get the parasite out of her in order to have an unaltered strain of the virus to test. Back on the bridge, Guzman has Nick try to hack into the lab’s computers and the find the files on Tristana, which causes Angela to remember all of the articles in the penthouse and they learn that Ricarte was the one who originally admitted Tristana. Meanwhile, Lucas finds Koldo’s grandmother only to discover that she has been infected and he is forced to kill her. When more infected soldiers start chasing him, he manages to close the door to the corridor only to come across Ricarte and his team, who force him to take them to Angela. When they reach the bridge, Ricarte explains that Angela has the parasite and that they need to get it out of her in order to find a cure. Guzman reluctantly lowers his weapon and the soldiers restrain Angela and they prepare to cut the parasite out of her right there when Goro, who was in the restroom, attacks Ginard. Angela uses the confusion to escape while Ricarte’s soldiers kill Goro and Ginard, then follow after her. When Ortega decides to throw himself off the boat, Guzman decides to go find what weapons he can, then head down to start the backup engine so that they can hopefully steer the ship back home. Meanwhile, Angela grabs a fire axe and starts smashing the cameras to keep Ricarte and his men from finding her but she is stopped when Nick manages to alert her via one of the soldier’s radios. Angela heads back to the dining hall and frees the cook from the refrigerator, then while it fights with the soldier, manages to grab Ricarte and bites him, then tells him to check his blood to prove she is not infected. As the infected kill the soldier and Ricarte’s assistant, Ricarte makes it back to the lab and tests his blood which proves Angela was telling the truth. Nick hears this, then packs his bag with the camera and some supplies just as Guzman and Lucas return with some harpoon guns and a boat motor. Telling them what he overheard, Guzman goes down to the lab while he sends Lucas and Nick to start the backup engine. In the lab, Angela confronts Ricarte and he says that she has to be lying somehow but when Guzman arrives, Angela accuses him of lying, since they were alone in the apartment for a minute. Guzman admits that the parasite is in him, just as Ricarte activates the self destruct for the ship. Guzman forces Angela into the cargo hold and shuts the lid, trapping her in the dark with some cages filled with dead and infected monkeys, which try to get her but she manages to escape. In the engine room, Nick and Lucas manage to kill one infected soldier and the engineer but as another blackout occurs, Lucas is killed by two more soldiers and Nick grabs the boat motor and escapes. He runs into Ricarte, who is carrying a life raft and says that the two of them have a chance to escape but Nick knocks out Ricarte, then grabs the raft. Continuing down the corridor, he is surprised to find Angela dropping from out of the air duct, but she quickly grabs the motor and turns it on in order to kill the monkeys that were chasing down the corridor after her. When they hide form the infected soldiers, Guzman attacks Nick, then tries to transfer the parasite back to Angela but Nick hands her a harpoon gun, which she uses to kill Nick and prevent the parasite from entering her again. Angela and Nick then race through the corridors to the outside, where Nick tosses the life raft and tells Angela to jump for it while he fends off the infected, then he jumps in after her. Reaching the raft, Nick calls out for Angela and she eventually surfaces and he helps her onto the raft and they use the motor to get away just as the boat explodes, killing all of the infected on board but the parasite manages to survive and swims into the mouth of a large fish that tries to eat it. Sometime later, Angela and Nick are seen in a cab heading home and when the driver jokes about “some party, eh?”, the two just look at each other.
[REC]4: Apocalypse received a much more favorable reaction from the critics than it’s predecessor, holding a 78% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, most of the critics felt that it while not in the same style as the first two movies, did a good job in maintaining the same tone that the previous movies (not counting the 3rd one) set. Even though the ending left the possibility for a fifth movie open, Jaume Balaguero (the writer/director) and his partner Paco Paza (who co-directed the first two movies and solo directed the third one) have both said that there will not be another movie. While it had better reviews than the previous movie, the movie was only a mild hit at the box office, earning $3.7 million at the box office.
This was a great way to finish out the series. The acting was good, with Manuela Velasco doing an excellent job returning to the role of Angela, showcasing a lot more aspects of her character’s personality than in the previous films. I also liked Paco Manzanedo (Guzman), Hector Colome (Ricarte), and Ismael Fritschi (Nick) in their performances. The story was really good, essentially continuing from the end of the second movie, but they did bring the events of the third movie into the mix in order to try and tie up any loose ends. While the left the whole “found footage” style of filming behind, the fact that it was on a ship, with the tight corridors, actually helped keep some of the trapped feeling you got in the first two movies. The special effects were really good and didn’t really have to use an excessive amount of blood and gore to sell the horror aspects of the movie, aside from the rather gratuitous part where Angela and Nick killed the infected monkeys. The only thing I didn’t like about the movie was the ending, which honestly felt pretty cheap in how they showed the parasite still alive. That bit aside, this is a great movie to watch, especially after watching all of the other movies.
Rating: 4 out of 5