31 Days of Reviews: [REC] 4 – Apocalypse (2014)

In the fourth and final installment of the [REC] series, Angela Vidal finds herself on a ship at sea where the military has all remnants of the mysterious virus contained. With no lifeboats and no way to contact the mainland, is there any way to escape when the situation gets out of control?

I was very excited to see this addition to Netflix streaming. I’ve seen every film from the [REC] series and its American Quarantine counterparts. While a little bummed to see that it’s considered the final installment, I can’t deny that [REC] 4: Apocalypse is at least on my good side for bringing in Angela Vidal (Manuela Velasco) and not being a separate story.

One of the things that I found most interesting in [REC] 4 is that it really nails down the timeline for all the movies in the series. It reveals that the events of [REC] and [REC] 2 happened within a span of about 6 hours by stating that Angela Vidal was exposed to the virus for that length of time. It also shows that the events of [REC] 3 happened during that same time period because the sole survivor of the wedding is present on the ship from a second outbreak. For super fans of the series, this might have already been known information, but I definitely liked seeing the timeline stated in the film.

Similar to [REC] 2, this movie puts the viewer in a situation where the infected aren’t the only things to worry about. [REC] 4 brings in a lot of details from the second movie in the series and explains it further. This didn’t work in my favor at first because those details were fuzzy to me. When putting the plot from the second film and the fourth film together, it’s far more satisfying, at least for the story of Angela Vidal.

While the first two films were in found footage format, [REC] 4 goes for the more traditional filming style, similar to the third installment. There are fans that are upset about this. I didn’t find too much of a problem with it because the found footage style no longer serves the plot as it did before.

The infected in [REC] 4 definitely got the best of me. They were really freaking me out. It was a combination of the noises they made with how they moved on a boat, bouncing off the walls of the narrow hallways. This movie also adds in another scare factor by adding infected monkeys which also move very quickly toward you. I’m personally freaked out by anything that comes running or crawling toward me, so I found it super effective.

My biggest problem with this particular movie is its usage of time. There are some areas which put a solid timer in your face, and then they completely defy it. How were Angela and Guzman supposed to escape from the fourth floor of that building and share their important moment within 1 minute before the building exploded? How are Angela and Nick able to accomplish all that they do in the final act with a countdown of only 4 minutes? It works in the context of the movie, but if you really stop to think about it, it’s the longest “4 minutes” I’ve ever taken part in. A lot of viewers aren’t bothered by details like that, and I’m usually one of them, but these instances were very apparent to me.

[REC] 4 has mixed to positive reviews online, much better than its predecessor [REC] 3. This particular movie gets better coverage because it goes back to the original story, and it brings back the more serious tone that’s present in the first two movies. I do have to say that [REC] 4 felt more like another installment rather than the final installment to me. I wouldn’t be surprised if a couple years down the line, another movie is produced, and I wouldn’t protest it either.

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