Wednesday, October 2, 2013

[Rec]3 Genesis (2012)

The use of religious imagery in horror: 1. The Prop

The makers of “[Rec]” are back with a prequel (and they have another sequel coming out next year). This time around, the zombie outbreak that was documented in the two previous films in a quarantined building, is seen in another setting. The dog from the first film had been to the vet earlier in the day, and now that vet (who was bitten) is attending a wedding reception in a lavish, gated, mansion. As the zombie infection spreads, the bride and groom are separated. Rather than simply escaping, they both fight to find each other. It is an inspiring love. (With all the clichéd trappings of the genre.)

This franchise separates itself from other zombie films by having the outbreak tied to spiritual factors, namely it is a form of demonic possession. This is at once silly, but also an intriguing use of the metaphor. Zombies are always stand-ins for evil in society, here they are truly evil. These zombies are incapacitated by prayer, or even the simple reading of Biblical passages. However, for some reason if their host is deaf they do not freeze up. Why, who knows?

Don’t get too caught up in some spiritual message, though. This is as nihilistic and depressing a story as one comes across these days. Horror directors today are less concerned with having something to say and simply out to scare, or—better yet—rip the rug out from under audiences by making them think a happy ending is coming only to have everyone die.

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