Oct 3, 2014

Review: The Rage: Carrie 2 (1999)

If I were a movie director, I know the last thing I would want to direct is a sequel/remake/reboot or whatever of a movie that's considered to be a classic. Carrie isn't for everyone but I think we can all agree that it's certainly memorable as far as horror goes. I don't envy director Katt Shea one bit. She came into the production after the previous director quit over creative differences and even had to re-shoot what was already done. Add in the weight of trying to match up to the original and I'm sure it wasn't a walk in the park to shoot Rage.

Although a cameo was offered to Sissy Spacek, only Amy Irving who played Sue Snell returns. It's set in the same town after the events of Carrie and the story is connected by Carrie White and Rachel Lang having the same father. There are some differences to both stories but Carrie and The Rage: Carrie 2 are disappointingly similar. Rage seems more like an attempt at modernizing the original for younger crowds who never saw the original. I could just recommend ignoring this one and watch the original but I got a duty here.

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Genre: horror, sci-fi, thriller
Directed by: Katt Shea
Produced by: Paul Monash, Patrick J. Palmer
Written by: Rafael Moreu
Music by: Danny B. Harvey
Running time: 104 minutes
Production company: Red Bank Films, United Artists
Distributed by: United International Pictures, GAGA, United Artists, etc.
Country: United States
Language: English
Budget: $21,000,000
Box office: $17,762,705 (North America)

IMDb entry
Rotten Tomatoes entry

Starring: Emily Bergl, Jason London, Dylan Bruno, J. Smith-Cameron, Amy Irving, Zachery Ty Bryan, John Doe, Gordon Clapp, Rachel Blanchard, Charlotte Ayanna, Justin Urich, Mena Suvari, Eli Craig, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Clint Jordan, Steven Ford

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Synopsis


When Rachel Lang (Emily Bergl) was younger, her mother (J. Smith-Cameron) was put in an insane asylum for schizophrenia that was in part aggravated from her daughter's telekinetic abilities. Rachel lives with a foster family now and is pretty much an outcast at her school except for one friend. Lisa (Mena Suvari) is thrilled to have had sex for the first time but keeps her lover's identity secret. For unexplainable reasons, Lisa commits suicide later that day which deeply upsets Rachel. While the school and authorities try to figure out why this happened, Rachel has an idea of who is responsible from a photo she develops at her job.

Review


There's a real (and painful) attempt to cater to the youth of the day with Carrie 2. Rachel Lang the character is an alternative kind of girl who has a poster of Marylin Manson in her room and dresses all dark. She even has a tattoo she shares with her friend Lisa. Most of the soundtrack is alternative rock too. In the end the whole effort feels like it's just that, an effort. All of this was all thought up by older men sitting in a board room trying to figure out how to attract youth to see this movie and this is what they thought up. It's laughable and not genuine in the least. 

The story is a loosely veiled retread of the original Carrie with an injected storyline inspired by The Spur Posse which was a sex scandal involving high school basketball players. They had one night stands with girls at their school and were given points that were tallied up. It's definitely a good source of inspiration, but the way in which it's executed is so poor. The characters are thin which made me not care about anyone involved and the climax is incredibly disappointing. 

Another thing that bothered about Carrie 2 were the awful editing and cinematography decisions. Scenes where Rachel is using her telekinesis will some times be in black and white because...well I don't know really. Because it's cool? There's even some ill advised Dutch angle usage for some bonus laughs. There's also some liberal use of Carrie archive footage for flashbacks that feels extremely unnecessary and even insulting. There's no need for any of those flashbacks.

There are also some moments where the sound design/editing is beyond questionable. For example, Rachel closing doors and locker doors with her telekinesis sound like knives sheathing and gunshots respectively. It's beyond puzzling when this happens. Did the sound person just accidentally put the wrong sound? (Spoilers) I also can't forgive the usage of Margaret White's "They're all going to laugh at you" during the climax. It makes absolutely no sense because Rachel has never heard those words. (End Spoilers)

Performances of everyone involved are flat and they don't do anything to alleviate the dull story. There's no reason to care for any of the characters and so when the gorefest climax rears its head, it doesn't matter. The love story also has its fair share of awkward moments where Emily Bergl and Jason London demonstrate that they don't have an ounce of chemistry. I think that the sex scandal storyline had potential but like I said, it's poorly developed and finishes with a belly flop.

There's pretty much nothing to like about The Rage: Carrie 2. Somehow with a budget of $21 million, the production looks, sounds and feels like a TV movie. The film tries to be artsy while also pitifully trying to appeal to the young generation. Clearly there never should have been an attempt at making a sequel to Carrie. Exploring The Spur Posse in a Carrie-inspired storyline would have been the way to go if you ask me.


Rating


4/10