After aspiring fashion designer Rose (Laura Vandervoort) suffers a disfiguring traffic accident she undergoes a radical and untested stem-cell treatment. The experimental transformation is a miraculous success, but she soon develops an uncontrollable sexual appetite that leaves her willing victims rabid, out-of-control killing machines.
“Rabid” (2019) is a pixilated look at the 1977 horror classic of the same name that explored the human fascination with visceral bodily transformation, infection, technology and the intertwining of psychological parallels of the human physique. The modernised resurfacing, produced by Back 40 Pictures in conjunction with Telefilm Canada, Ontario Media Development Corporation and financed by Media Finance Capital, captures several sub-genres without committing to any and catapults the viewer into the glamorous, or not so glamorous, world of catwalk-modelling, coke-snorting, bubble-sipping hedonism, where beauty mingles with thirst and desperation. Every scene, every shot, every line of coke, every momentary pause and glance is so hypnotically composed by the Soska Sisters you can almost taste the ever so luxuriously over-deliberate mayhem seeping from within the jaded in-crowd, complete with silky-voiced cutthroat vipers that wouldn’t look out of place at a Taylor Swift sleepover.
And it’s when our lead, Rose (Laura Vandervoort), our babe-in-the-woods, who’s already lost everything in life, becomes involved in a motorcycle accident that her last grasp of self-worth is torn from her, in a rip of the jaw, quickly, and with the help of science she’s back on her feet, plucked from office obscurity, and she redefines herself and her work for a new cosmopolitan generation. “Magnificent,” growls Gunter (Mackenzie Gray), but Rose’s life, her untimely accident and recovery is anything but a fairytale. As her dream turns into fruition, her salutary story becomes a nightmare as the appendage she hosts, a tentacle that hides beneath her beautiful exterior, breaks down society turning civilians into rabid, blood-lusting savages, starting with TV doctor Dominic (Stephen Huszar).
“Rabid is a nasty little number and while far from perfect the Soska Sisters do a commendable job of taking a David Cronenberg cult classic and making it a commercial hit, while still managing to retain the original’s credibility.”
The Soska Sisters’ capable story-telling is the film’s success. “Rabid” is a fluid movie with interesting character development that doesn’t take overly long to get to the gnarly bits. Direction is slick and well filmed, and includes a varied colour palette even when set against the grey dirty skyline. Performances from the entire cast are solid with Stephen Huszar taking home the award for the most batsh*t crazy moments. The film’s only problem is its scene-to-scene transitions and the bold colour scheme used to signify how the host spreads the viral disease through scratches, bites and saliva when it comes into contact with a person’s eyes, mouth, or nose. A more efficient method I saw was in Joe Lynch’s “Mayhem”. “Mayhem” used a quick pan of the camera to highlight how the
virus spreads at an alarming rate from person to person, summarising that the virus has no prejudices. The Soska Sisters’ method isn’t a complete dud; it’s just a far less interesting methodology of getting the same job done. If it’s not broken don’t try and fix it.
The Soska Sisters, Jen and Sylvia, have excelled with the “Rabid” reboot, and while the film has its faults it still manages to stand on its own two feet, crafting a brutal and deranged slice of horror celluloid.
The Soska Sisters