Cinematic Releases: [REC] 4 Apocalypse

Paco Plaza abandons ship with this latest and supposedly last movie in the [REC] series. 

"Someone get me off this
sinking ship of a franchise!!!"
[REC] 4 Apocalypse hits on demand and limited theaters today. 

What started out as an intriguing take on the found footage format ends with a brutal and uncreative whimper that's not only sad but a far cry from what Plaza and Balaguero did with the original two films. Luckily for him, Plaza bailed on the series after his maligned but fun [REC] 3 was disparaged by his hardcore fans. 

[REC] 4 picks up from the end of the second movie and brings Angela back in to the violent fold of flesh eating killers and brain bashing overindulgence. While everything about the film is not totally horrid, the abandonment of the original format makes this one feel like a standard straight to video horror flick with no budget, bad lighting, cheap looking effects, and many plot points that are way too close to those horrendous Resident Evil movies. Originality is sacrificed for typical genre tropes as Apocalypse quickly turns in to another movie about nothing else than being chased by scary monsters down corridor after corridor while a barely dressed female protagonist avoids death at every turn. 

Admittedly, there are some sleek visual elements and tense moments of limb chomping, but all in all [REC] 4 feels like something Paul W.S. Anderson would wipe his untalented ass with after soullessly toiling over another terrible Milla Jovovich zombie movie. It even shares it name with the the second entry in the Resident Evil franchise. Come on. Can't we do better than this? After a 2014 that gave horror fans so many great movies, having this as one of the first genre entries of the year is really disconcerting.

"I told you I don't want to play
doctor tonight!!!"
Instead of sticking to a formula that worked for [REC] 1 and 2, Apocalypse becomes another boring retread of every other horror sequel that forgets its roots. Lonesome director Juame Balaguero went for too much action and overcompensated for a lack of story by filling in the blanks with inane cliches about "the host", scientific experimentation, and bloodthirsty monkeys that want nothing more than to tear your face off. 

Of course the ending features the typical and ambiguous nod at another sequel. Sadly for [REC], the franchise died with the departure of Paco Plaza and should be left alone at this point. There's just nothing more to say or do with the series. Apocalypse is dead on arrival.