Reviews since 1993: A-E F-N O-Z Posters Who We Are and Why We Do What We Do Search the Site
Now in Release
DISNEY PIXAR DVDs
IN SHORT: Almost a contender.
Cranky dreaded walking into the sneak of The Rage about as much as he dreaded walking into the remake of Psycho (mercifully long forgotten). Sometimes it's best not to screw with a classic . . .
Unless you have 23 years of lead time to let the special effects technology catch up to the depraved workings of a screenwriter's mind. Yes, I'm old enough to remember the original flick. No, I'm not bothered by that, 'cuz the target audience was in all likelihood not even conceived when Brian DePalma's groundbreaking flick was released. When you deconstruct Stephen King's original story, there's not a helluva lot of unique stuff there B an outcast high school kid, tormented by the other kidlets and abused by a religious fundamentalist fanatic mom. Yeah, the killer telekinetic powers are new and the murder of the entire senior class of Bates high was pretty damned amazing for its time. Take the core elements B outcast, telekinetic powers, buckets of blood - and you can fashion most any kind of decent scareflick. Which is what the makers of The Rage have almost done.
Had they not stretched so mightily to make connections to the story of Carrie White (Sissy Spacek), right down to inserting clips from the original movie, they would have had a down and dirty teen flick that the old line critics would've hated but that the kidlets would've flocked to. At minimum, there's one death that will be talked about for years to come. That's technology for you. Enough about Carrie, let's deal with The Rage.
Right off the bat, it's a different flick. Rachel Lang (Emily Bergl) is downright cute in that non-California non-blonde kind of way. Her mom (J. Smith-Cameron) is a looney tune, committed to a local asylum named "Arkham" -- if you get the very in-joke you'll understand -- and she's being raised by a loving pair of white trash foster parents (John Doe and Kate Skinner) who need the $300 buck a month support money they get paid and who are not opposed to dispensing a little tough love, when necessary.
The kidlets are just as evil, though their abuse takes the form of a game being played out by the football team, in which "points" are awarded for each successful bedding of any of the fine youngsters on campus. The catch is that Jesse Ryan (Jason London) who targets Rachel isn't the same kind of scum as, say Eric (Zachery Ty Bryan). He actually comes to like and, dare we say it, love Rachel. Well, his friends will fix that. Rachel's best friend Lisa (Mena Suvari) falls victim to the scheme and takes a dive off the school roof. The fuse lit, we move on to the good stuff.
Hovering over the proceedings like a possessed mama bear is guidance counselor Sue Snell (Amy Irving) the only on-screen survivor of the murderfest that ended that other flick. Snell spent her time in Arkham, too, and when she see it all starting to happen again, it becomes her duty to figure out why and stop it before the blood starts to flow. She'll fail, of course, but that doesn't spoil any surprise. Instead of a prom, the senior class is locked in a glass house (you've seen this in the commercial so I'm not giving anything away here, either) and we all know what happens when glass flies freely through thin air.
The gore is good. The effects are far superior to the original; time will do that. The actors are pretty and if the creators had settled for just scaring the audience sloppy, this would be a far better flick. The subtitle "Carrie 2" is a clue to what to expect, and The Rage does not disappoint.
On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to The Rage, he would have paid...
$5.00 (dateflick level)
God knows I'm almost but not quite too damned old to be shelling out for The Rage but, as a bopperflick, this is just the kind of thing I'd lug my girlfriend down to the plex for, were I still a teen. Some good scares and, well, you know the rest ...
Even if you don't, you'll be hearing about Zachery Ty Bryan's exit. Ouch.
The Cranky Critic website is Copyright © 1995 - 2016 by Chuck Schwartz. Articles by Paul Fischer are Copyright © 1999 - 2006 Paul Fischer. All images, unless otherwise noted, are property of,©, ®, ™ their respective studios and are used by permission. All Rights Reserved. Not to be used or copied for any commercial purpose. Academy Award™(s) and Oscar®(s) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.