[REC] 4: Apocalypse (2014)

DVD Cover (Magnet Releasing)
Genres: Horror, Religious Horror, Supernatural Horror, Zombie Film
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Jaume Balagueró Jaume Balagueró
Manuela Velasco Manuela Velasco
Paco Manzanedo Paco Manzanedo
Héctor Colomé Héctor Colomé
Ismael Fritschi Ismael Fritschi
Críspulo Cabezas Críspulo Cabezas
Movie Connections:
> [REC] (2007)
> Quarantine (2008)
> [REC] 2 (2009)
> Quarantine 2: Terminal (2011)
> [REC] 3: Genesis (2012)
> [REC] 4: Apocalypse (2014)

5.3 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Chad
Added: November 27, 2016
I'm going to admit something right up front: I was very hesitant about popping in [REC] 4, and as such, I put it off for quite a long time - a year and a half, to be more specific. The reason is simple: I loved the first two movies dearly, but the third movie went off in a direction that I wasn't a huge fan of. It wasn't a horrible movie by any means, don't get me wrong, but it was a big step down in my eyes. Couple that with the fact that movie series in general usually tend to go downhill the higher they go in sequel count, and you can probably see why I wasn't expecting much from the latest (and supposedly last) entry. Regardless, this one jumped out and caught my eye earlier when I was hunting for something to watch, and here we are. So, how did it fare? Well...

Fun fact: if you watch [REC], [REC] 2, and [REC] 4 back to back (skipping the third movie), it plays out as one continuous storyline. Yes, this one picks up immediately after the events of the second movie, with that third entry being ignored aside from the inclusion of one unimportant character from it. We begin with a group of soldiers, including Guzmán (Paco Manzanedo) and Lucas (Críspulo Cabezas), entering that infamous apartment building with plans to plant explosives, grab any survivors, and get the hell out before it all comes tumbling down. One of the survivors is Ángela (Manuela Velasco), that news reporter from the first movie, who has gone through hell during her time in this building. Some zombie action takes place, lives are lost, and the only survivors are the three names that I specifically mentioned, which segues on over to the main meat of the movie.

Those survivors will wake up with little recollection of what happened, and they soon find out that they're on an oil tanker out in the middle of the ocean. Also joining the trio is the little old lady (María Alfonsa Rosso) who slept through the events of [REC] 3, which is the one connection that this movie and that one have. They soon meet up with Dr. Ricarte (Héctor Colomé), who - along with a team of scientists and heavily armed soldiers - informs these four survivors that they have been quarantined, and that they are trying to eradicate this virus once and for all. These are the last four people on the planet who have been exposed to it, and thus, they are to be quarantined until they are deemed clean and ready to return to the real world. That sounds all fine and dandy, but after some digging by the heroes and a couple of skeptical crewmen in Capitán Ortega (Mariano Venancio) and Nic (Ismael Fritschi), we learn that Dr. Ricarte actually has ulterior motives for bringing these people together. Here's a hint: there is definitely a sample of that virus on this ship, and you'd be correct if you guessed that it accidentally gets out. Before you know it, half the crew is infected and tearing the living to pieces. What is going on, why are they here, and will they survive to see another day?

My initial fears were quickly laid to rest as I got into this movie, and it was immediately apparent that it was much, much better than the previous entry in the series. This one returns to the straight-up horror genre, and it also does a great job of sticking to the mythos established in the previous films. Also, for better or worse, this is the first movie in the series to completely abandon the cinéma vérité style of storytelling. That's right, the handheld cameras and shaky scenes are completely scrapped this time around. I personally enjoyed them in the previous movies, don't get me wrong, but I didn't find myself missing them here. While it's true that it was sort of the "gimmick" of the first two movies, it wasn't something that was vital to the storyline and it wasn't required this time around.

Getting back to the storyline side of things, I really enjoyed the presentation this time around. Again, it sticks to the mythos and events of the first two films, while also bringing some new details to the table. There was definitely some thought put into this script, and it's not just another zombie flick taking place on a boat. There are twists and turns aplenty, and there are moments that will genuinely leave you guessing as to what's going on. Also, with this reportedly being the last film in the series, I must say that it went out in a great way. That ending can be seen as a solid conclusion and a great way to cap things off, but at the same time, it also leaves a little sliver of an opening for a future sequel, should the filmmakers change their minds on the matter.

Being a horror film, it also did a wonderful job of bringing the scares, the tension, and of course, the red stuff. There are moments where I literally found myself saying "Oh shit" while watching the predicament that the stars found themselves in, and yes, there are some great scares as well. There's some of the obligatory jump scares, which do work out well, but there's also a great sense of tension throughout the running time. The odds seem incredibly stacked against the heroes, and it always seems as though they're one step away from getting killed. Also, how about the blood and guts? There's buckets of the red stuff for the gorehounds in the audience, and they will certainly find a lot to love here with gunshots, stabbings, blunt objects, and even a freaking boat motor being used to dispatch the undead.

I think it goes without saying at this point, but I loved this entry in the series almost as much as the original two movies. It's the full package: story, scares, tension, gore, and even some pretty damned good acting. Hell, there's even a not-so-subtle running nod to Peter Jackson's Braindead to be found, which brought a smile to my face. The third movie was average enough, but horror fans should definitely have this one along with the first two movies on their shelves. Watching those three movies in one sitting would be a great way for any fan of the genre to spend a day, and I'm actually looking forward to doing just that some day even though I literally just finished watching this one. Fantastic. 8/10.
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