Review of "Rabid” by The Headless Critic
Rabid – 2019
Production by: Back 40 Films
Distribution by: Shout! Factory Films
What happens when you realize that to achieve your dreams you have to live a nightmare? Rose (Laura Vandervoort) works around beautiful women like her model best friend Chelsea (Hanneke Talbot) for a living, a modest daisy hidden among roses. Her dream is to become a famous designer in a fashion world full of eccentrics like her boss Gunter (Mackenzie Gray). A terrible accident leaves Rose scarred beyond recognition with half her face torn off. A miracle offer from Dr. William Burroughs (Ted Atherton) of an experimental stem cell treatment offers Rose a chance at new life. The results of the treatment are too good to be true.
Rose goes from unnoticed asset to an undeniable presence to all those around her. She is better than she was before. She no longer needs glasses and she’s perhaps even more beautiful than she was before the accident. With her confidence level at its highest she stands out like the rose she always felt she was. Everything comes at a price including her newfound perfect life. Profound dreams fuel Rose's primal urges. Her dreams grow more vivid and violent. She knows something isn’t right. Meanwhile in the world around her people she’s come in contact with and even dreamed about are ravaging each other. The increase of violence has drawn the attention of local police and even local doctors including her own Dr. Burroughs. The world seems to be going rabid.
“Why do we keep remaking old trends. How are we breathing new life and soul? Are we adding something new? If there is not soul, there cannot be life. So do we cater to the masses or do we create art only for the few who dare experience it.” - Gunter
Over forty years after its initial release The Soska Sisters resurrect David Cronenberg’s sometimes forgotten Rabid. In of world of Hollywood remakes and sequels we do not need more, however if you’re going to remake a movie Rabid is the kind of film you should redux. It's old enough, forgotten enough, it has good subject matter that's relatable today and most importantly there's room for improvement. Cronenberg’s Rabid played on the fears of the still largely new and unknown aspects of plastic surgery at the time and humans going rabid or contracting rabies. The Soska sisters update that fear with the topical, controversial and still being explored possibilities of stem cell research. Their Rabid remake pays homage to where they came from with a 1970’s look and filming style with a methodical opening pace that builds characters and interest from the audience. Then their finale does what Cronenberg didn’t. It’s a lot less subtle, a lot more thought provoking and all out rabid.
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3 out of 5 Headless Critics