It’s that time of year again! Time to celebrate the Resurrection with a weeklong plunge into all things zombie! Here’s the history: In 2008, Dr. Girlfriend and I decided to spend a week or so each year marathoning through zombie films that we’d never seen before, and I would blog short reviews. And simple as that, the Easter Zombie Movie Marathon was born.

For the curious, here are links to 2008, 2009 (a bad year), 2010, 2011, 2012 (when we left the blog behind), 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020.

[Rec] 4: Apocalypse is the final film of the series and is directed by Jaume Balagueró from a screenplay by Balagueró and Manu Díaz. Taking place during the finale of [Rec] 2, we jump right in with a new set of Special Forces soldiers entering the quarantined apartment building with the goal of setting explosives to destroy the whole damn thing. Before they can get out, though, Hot Action Doctor Guzman (Paco Manzanedo) decides to save Ángela (Manuela Velasco).

The next thing we know, we’re on a boat at sea and a bunch of scientists have set up a floating lab to try to find the enzyme that causes demonic possession and we’re like, uh oh! Ángela’s got that creepy worm in her! But wait! There’s no trace of demonic possession enzyme in her blood! Is she okay? Is she faking? Has the parasite been passed on to Hot Action Doctor?

I think we all know that it was passed on to the Hot Action Doctor.

Anyway, [Rec] 4: Apocalypse is a perfectly fine zombie movie set on a boat. It’s much better than The Ghost Galleon, and despite what critics and audiences thought (this is the first [Rec] movie to not make back its budget and also had the worst reviews of the series) it’s not a bad zombie movie. The kills are brutal and gory, the tension just keeps ramping up and up, and we have a main character that we kind of actually care about, after following her really bad night over three films.

The performances are all solid, particularly Héctor Colomé as Dr. Ricarte, the man trying to find the cure to demonic possession. There was a time when his character might have seemed more sinister and untrustworthy, but after living in quarantine for a year now, I’m on his side. I’m Team Dr. Ricarte. Kill everybody on that boat and all those monkeys you’ve got stored in the hold (yeah, that’s a thing), so long as you figure out how to stop this plague!

So, there are monkeys being experimented on with demonic zombie blood, which means, of course, we get a horde of demonic zombie monkeys at one point, chasing Ángela through the ship. We’re supposed to believe that she can outrun and out climb a bunch of possessed monkeys? Okay, sure.

If it means we get a scene where a motorboat engine is used like a demonic zombie monkey Cuisinart, slicing and dicing them in a bloody explosion that just keeps going, then I’m okay with it. And I’m in luck because we get exactly that!

I’m not exaggerating when I say that [Rec] 4: Apocalypse is mostly just nonsense designed to get audience adrenaline going as people we kind of care about get chased around by disgusting, snarly, hyper-aggressive monster people. There’s not a deeper meaning. I don’t think there’s a real subtext, unless its about how fucking racist the military is. But I don’t think that’s a conscious thing. These guys are just racist. It’s probably not a sweeping statement.

In the end, everybody’s expendable and the only person even likeable (Ismael Fritschi) is kinda pervy but, hey, he knows how to hack the computer system. At least he doesn’t rape anybody like in the Blind Dead movies.

[Rec] 4: Apocalypse is the least interesting entry in the [Rec] franchise. Shit, I didn’t even mention the fact that Balagueró has completely abandoned the found footage element that set the initial two films apart. He doesn’t even give it lip service like [Rec] 3 did. This is just a straight-up zombie movie set on a boat. It’s not bad, but it doesn’t really try to stretch the genre.

I am curious though. Is the parasite actually demonic? It responds negatively to prayers and religious symbols, but is it really satanic? There’s an interesting story in there, following the origins of the parasite. Is it the only one? Surely not. Has the Catholic Church spent decades dealing with a series of parasitic infections instead of demonic possessions? I kind of need to know. If they’re not actual demons, why do they respond like they do to the Christian symbols?

When the parasite gets eaten by a big ass fish at the end of the film, does that mean there’s a demonic fish out there, making demonic zombie fish?

Should we not eat fish, now?

I kind of feel like these arent’t the questions I should be left with after watching the final film of a franchise.

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