REC4 sees the return of 'Jaume Balagueró' back at the helm, after opting out of directing REC3: Genesis, Balagueró, who directed the first REC including the sequel tried to tie all three up in one Zombific conclusion. Although in the absence of Balagueró the third instalment which veers slightly off-piste is actually a worthy addition, it was gory, funny in places and even though showed little to no resemblance of the first two films was a damn good watch, one thing it certainly wasn't was generic, if only the same could be said for REC4.
All aboard HMS Zombie!.....
Ángela Vidal, the television reporter (see REC1/2) has been rescued from the building by the SWAT team and has now been taken to a tanker at sea where the infection has been quarantined and the last of the remaining virus is being held onboard for both analysis and to try and find a cure. Herself and a few other characters (that have all been thrown into the plot to try and gel all of the films together) are being kept onboard to ensure they are free from the virus. This is again another confusing curve ball that REC4 throws, its predecessors show a demonic reasoning for the zombies whereas REC4 seems to lean towards a parasitic element, one that tries to find the strongest host to live in amongst the remaining people on the ship. Make your mind up!!
Keeping infected monkeys aboard seemed like a good idea at the start but as you can imagine the zombie ju ju is passed on from one of the (CGI monkey) test subjects to the chef....you think that's lamb your eating?? From here on it it's a fairly simple fight for survival for what's left of those on the vessel.
There are a few positives that can be taken from REC 4 - the acting and cast can't be faulted, it's certainly not low budget (although the heavy use of CGI is puzzling) and it is nice to see that an effort has been made to try and tie some of the previous characters stories into the finale - although not with nearly enough depth.
The gore - which is nonexistent in the first half of the film, is pretty gruesome in parts, there's some variation in the deaths and some brutal executions thrown in for good measure, the makeup department have also done a spot on job with the zombies themselves. Unfortunately these are just distractions from the fact that REC4 just isn't what it could of been, personally I think Balagueró's direction in the first two films worked so well because they were dark, dank and claustrophobic, three things completely missing from 4. The overuse of CGI both of the ship itself and a handful of monkey scenes are quite frankly embarrassing and belong in a low budget b movie.
Not an unwatchable film but generic is the key word here, to put it simply the REC saga would of missed out on zilch without this film. It brings a conclusion which was so damp on content that it added no further dimensions or developments to the plot...it just is. Also one piece of advice.....do not watch REC4 late at night, you will fall asleep before it really gets going.