It’s my own fault for stepping into a late night screening of [REC] 4: Apocalypse. For a bit of historical perspective, I quite liked [REC], despised [REC] 2 and didn’t even bother with [REC] 3: Genesis after hearing nothing but bad things. So why go into the fourth (and supposedly final) installment in the franchise? I guess I’m just a sucker for punishment, because this is one hell of an uninspired and lifeless sequel, holding onto mere threads before dropping into the abyss, hopefully forgotten forever.
The film serves as a direct sequel to [REC] 2, opening with a brief sequence within the Barcelona apartment building where television reporter Angela Vidal (Manuela Velasco) entered with her crew only to be exposed to a virus that turned people into zombies. The story continues as Angela is extracted from the building only to wake up disoriented, quarantined on a ship out at sea with those that rescued her and the sole survivor of the events seen in [REC] 3.
Aboard this ship a crew of scientists, surrounded by well-armed security guards, are attempting to create an antivirus. While testing on infected monkeys, one of them escapes, resulting in a “terror” at sea scenario that is neither terrifying or the least bit unique.
Jaume Balaguero, one half of the director due that helmed the first two films, takes on this installment on his own, solidifying just how far the franchise has devolved since the first film, with sequels serving as nothing more than cliched zombie movies. It’s no longer about the mysterious origin of the virus, but only about how they are going to contain it while at the same time ratcheting up a body count by whatever means possibly. Guns, of course, are a natural choice of weaponry, but this film is clearly excited they’ve introduced a boat motor to the carnage.
There is very little else to say. Uninspired is uninspired. This is cliche territory and it plays like a movie written in one night over a couple of beers, after which they said, “That’s good enough.” But I can’t imagine the [REC] fanbase is big enough to support “good enough”. Then again, based on the fact the production design is so bad you can see the fake laminate they placed over the floor, bubbling and rolling at the edges, it would seem they didn’t even care about “good enough” and cared more about just getting it done. That said, if they don’t care why should we?