GS EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Chainsaws & Found Footage with ‘[REC] Genesis’ director Paco Plaza

It’s fair to say that the [REC] films have been something of a phenomena, both critically and commercially.  A mix of the 28 Days Later style contemporary ‘zombie’ horror with the now popular (if overused) found footage motif that has become a mainstay of low-budget and independent feature films, the [REC] films has grossed a global box office of over $50 million USD to date.

Now you may think that this doesn’t sound like much in the billion dollar box office world of The Avengers, but considering the films were budgeted at under £6 million USD combined ($1.5million USD/$4.5Million USD) it makes them quite a substantial hit.  And that’s before you take into account the phenomenal DVD business globally, a Hollywood big screen remake and direct to DVD sequel…

This September see’s the release of the third [REC] film, titled [REC] Genesis.  Recently I caught up with Paco Plaza, co-director of [REC] 1 & 2 and now director of the third movie, [REC] Genesis to talk about his new, and somewhat different, take on the [REC] Franchise.

GS: Tell me a little about the story of [REC] Genesis?

Paco Plaza: While editing the first REC, we talked a lot about different situations that may allow this kind of storytelling; one of them was the wedding video, where you have so different POVs, so many characters with strong relationships, a closed space…a great arena for a horror show.

GS: The [REC] films were known best for their ‘found footage’ motif, something you drop quite near the beginning of [REC] Genesis.  What was behind this decision?

PP: We didn’t want to go the same path we already had. If one thing is particular about the REC films is that we always tried to surprise the audience, to deliver something different from their expectations. I think these days we seldom feel surprised in a theatre; more and more as film goer I have the feeling that I go to the theatre to check the film is exactly as I imagined from the amount of information I had before. We wanted to give something fresh, surprising and unexpected; and using this mix of POV and conventional cinematography was a part of that surprise; a REC film that doesn´t look like it.

GS: You co-directed [REC] 1 & 2 with Jaume Balagueró.   Was it always planned for you to direct [REC] Genesis alone?

PP: Once we knew the producers wanted 2 more films, we wanted to achieve a double goal: not losing control over them and having time for our personal projects aside REC. Splitting the tasks was the best formula for those two conditions to happen. And as Jaume was working already on Sleep Tight, I went first.

GS: What was the inspiration behind [REC] Genesis? I imagine you started with the image of ‘girl in wedding dress with a chainsaw’ and worked back from there?

PP: That was the starting point indeed. Some times, an image comes to you and you can not rest til it exists. That happened with this one.

GS: What did you make of the US remake of the original [REC], Quarantine & its sequel, Quarantine 2?

PP: We were not involved creatively in those films at all. QUARANTINE helped to make REC extremely popular overseas, and put our film under a new light. Being remade gave REC something close to cult status, so I’m very grateful to the producers that decided to do it.

GS: What can you tell us about the upcoming [REC] 4? Will it follow the found footage motif of [REC] 1 & 2 or the more traditional narrative of [REC] Genesis?

PP: I don’t have a lot of information. More or less what I have read in the web

It’s later been confirmed that [REC] 4 Apocalypse will once again drop the ‘found footage ‘ motif of the early [REC} films and adopt a more traditional approach.

GS: Why do you think the [REC] films have been so popular, both in your native country and worldwide?

PP: I wish I knew! But I think it has something to do with having fun working and doing what you would love to see on a screen. We shot REC as the film we had loved to see while we were 17.

GS: Finally what’s the scariest film you have ever seen?

PP: Who can kill a child (N. Ibáñez Serrador) (aka Death is Child’s Play aka Island Of The Damned, 1976)

About  [REC] Genesis: Koldo and Clara (mostly recently seen in Sky One’s (Mad Dogs) are about to celebrate the most important day of their lives: their wedding. Everything appears to be running smoothly and the bride and groom and their families are enjoying a wonderful day; that is until some of the guests start showing signs of a strange illness. Before they know what’s happening, the bride and groom find themselves in the middle of a hellish ordeal, as an uncontrollable torrent of violence is unleashed on the wedding.

[REC] Genesis will be released by eOne on DVD and Blu-ray 3 September 2012 and will be available online and in all good DVD retailers

Reporter: Phil Hobden (@filmsploitation)

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