By Rob Blackwelder
There are folks out there who like to rent "Carrie," the unintentionallyhigh camp 1976 horror movie, get a group of friends together and treatit like "Rocky Horror."
You know who you are.
You're the people that are even more dubious than the averagemovie fan of "The Rage: Carrie 2" (a bad idea to be sure), andhave crossed your fingers that it won't be a disaster of copy cat-ism orovert self-consciousness.
Well, I'm here to tell you they got it right.
Writer Rafael Moreu ("Hackers")and director Katt Shea ("Poison Ivy") are part of your club.Their movie is full of joyously understated self-mockery, they know fromcamp and they know exactly when to put the pedal to the metal and bringout the buckets of blood.
Here's the story:
Rachel (film frosh Emily Bergl) is a dour high school out=cast(as demonstrated by dyed black hair and form-fitting henna-print tops)who lives in a peeling paint house with her abusive white trash fosterparents.
She has two friends, Walter, her basset hound and Lisa,a goth cutie who just made the mistake of losing her cherry to one of agroup of jocks who are competing to see how many girls they can bag.
When the sporto blows her off the next day, Lisa does aheader from the high school roof into the windshield of a Buick, whichsubsequently makes Rachel an emotional wreck -- and brother, you don'twant Rachel to get upset.
Turns out Rachel is the similarly-empowered half-sister(same dad) of Carrie White, the telekinetic played by Sissy Spacek in 1976whose systematic humiliation by her peers in the original "Carrie"lead to a supernatural prom massacre that redefined the term "bloodbath" in the lexicon of pop culture.
Rachel doesn't know her lineage, of course, but schoolcounselor Sue Snell gets a sneaking suspicion after seeing the girl's unwieldypowers rear up for a moment in the wake of her friend's suicide. Sue Snellshould know, played by Amy Irving (reviving her role from the original),she was the only survivor of Carrie's teen angst rampage 23 years before.
Sue is a little worried about Rachel since she seems toget picked on by a bunch of interchangeable cheerleaders and jocks clonedfrom the casts of other entries in the recent teen flick revival. They'replayed by, among others, Charlotte Ayanna (Miss Teen USA 1993), RachelBlanchard (UPN's "Clueless") and a very beefy Zachery Ty Bryan,late of "Home Improvement."
Naturally, these clique kids are heartless snobs, and theyonly become worse when a romance blossoms between emotionally armored Racheland The Sensitive Jock (Jason London), who really likes her in spite ofthe unfriendly ribbing he takes from his chums.
Liberally sprinkled with Irving's flashbacks to the original"Carrie," flashes of grainy black and white, and pulsing, wah-wahclose-ups when Rachel is about to do her thing, "The Rage" isso sly with the comedy that it almost make one wonder if the laughs areunintentional. (Beheadings by airborne CDs? They can't be serious!)
Even though it's unavoidable that the first 95 minutesof the movie amounts to nothing more than waiting for the inevitably bloodypayoff, "The Rage" manages to be fairly entertaining along theway, poking fun at the teen flick genre with deliberately clich=E9d crises("If I don't get in to a good college, my dad's gonna kill me,"one ball player whines) and ironically stock scenes.
At times it plays like MTV's "Daria" as a horrormovie. One of the jocks even carries a football with him to English class,where they're studying -- what else? -- "Romeo and Juliet."
And when it does come to that inevitable climax, it takesplace during a pool party at a rich kid's house, prefaced by the obligatoryobservation, "If this house gets trashed, heads are gonna roll."(Little does he know!)
"The Rage" is not just for the strangely rabidfans of the original "Carrie." It's at least as much post-modernhorror (a la "Scream")as it is genre pedigree. But that pedigree allows it to be more subtlyironic that the other such flicks. Besides, "Scream" didn't haveAmy Irving, did it? And "Carrie" fans, you'll never believe whathappens to her.
I cannot in good conscience give a movie this dumb a "mustsee" recommendation. But I will say this: I had a great time, andwhen it comes out on video I hope one of those crazy "Carrie"people invites me to the double feature popcorn party.
Run time: 104 mins
In Theaters: Friday 12th March 1999
Production compaines: United Artists, Red Bank Films
Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5
IMDB: 4.5 / 10
Director: Katt Shea
Starring: Emily Bergl as Rachel Lang, Jason London as Jesse Ryan, Amy Irving as Sue Snell, J. Smith-Cameron as Barbara Lang, Dylan Bruno as Mark Bing, Zachery Ty Bryan as Eric Stark, Charlotte Ayanna as Tracy Campbell, Rachel Blanchard as Monica Jones, Justin Urich as Brad Winters, Eli Craig as Chuck Potter, Eddie Kaye Thomas as Arnie, Mena Suvari as Lisa Parker, John Doe as Boyd Wallace, Gordon Clapp as Mr. Stark, Clint Jordan as Sheriff Kelton, Steven Ford as Coach Walsh, Kate Skinner as Emilyn Wallace, Rus Blackwell as Sheriff, Harold Surratt as Principal, David Lenthall as English Teacher, Kayla Campbell as Young Rachel Lang, Robert D. Raiford as Senior D.A., Deborah Knox as Party Girl, Robert C. Treveiler as Smiling Patient, Gina Stewart as Female Vet, Claire Hurst as Night Nurse, Albert E. Hayes as Headbanging Patient, Colin Fickes as Tuba Player, Rhoda Griffis as Saleswoman, Eric Hill as Jesse's Spotter, Jennifer Nicole Parillo as Fleeing Party Girl, Jessica Cowart as Gardening Girl, Tiffany LeShai McMinn as Girl, Steven Culbertson as The Ref, Jamie Hall as Student Bystander, Steven Frederick Cook as Fleeing Party Boy, Chris Daniels as High School Student, Hank Fields as Student, Wofford Jones as Driver, Tara Killian as Girl in Classroom, Mark Freiburger as Skateboard Kid, Katt Shea as Deputy D.A. (Karen)
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