Brian De Palma’s 1976 Carrie is viewed as a quintessential piece of horror cinema. Based on Stephen King’s work of the same name, Carrie has terrified audiences over the subsequent decades and remains a true classic to this very day. In 1999, however, fans were treated to a sequel of sorts called The Rage. Now available on Blu-ray in the UK for the first time, let’s take a little look at this new release of a follow-up that, let’s be honest, nobody really asked for in the first place.
In terms of plot, this time out we find the story driven by Rachel Lang (Emily Bergl). A high school student, Rachel is looked down upon by the supposed cool kids and pretty girls in much the same way that a certain Carrie White was in De Palma’s ’76 picture. Well, that is until football player Jesse (Jason London) takes a shine to her. Is Jesse genuine in his affection? Is he simply your run-of-the-mill jock looking to get his rocks off? And just how will Rachel handle the telekinesis that seems to have been reawakened after the suicide of her best friend?
When looking at The Rage: Carrie 2, the movie is of course going to be held up against its predecessor. And when said predecessor is viewed as utterly iconic by so many, The Rage was always going to be fighting an uphill battle. Unfortunately for the sequel, it’s a battle that it simply cannot win.
Don’t get us wrong, there are some plus points to The Rage. For instance, Emily Bergl and Jason London impress as the duo heading up the picture. Both come across as genuinely likeable and do enough to have you actually caring what happens to their characters. As for the rest of the film, sadly it’s hard to fully get behind any of the other characters, for they’re all just thoroughly unlikeable for the most part. And no, not in a “ooh, we hope they get what’s coming to them” sort of unlikeable; more “ooh, this character is making me want to watch something else” sort of unlikeable. Even Amy Irving, who reprises her Sue Snell role from the original movie, struggles to get you onside despite now being the reformed school principal who is a totally different person to the bully that tormented poor Carrie White.
Like so many films of the day, The Rage: Carrie 2 is one that is dripping in the styles of its time. Make no mistake about it: this is as cheesy ‘90s horror as it gets. From the fashion, to the haircuts, to the dialogue, to the soundtrack, to the fonts used on the credits, to the fact that so many of these high schoolers are played by people in their mid-late 20s, this is a true time capsule and checklist of the teen-driven horror movies of the day. For those of us around in the ‘90s, there’s a hazy nostalgia element at play that will often put a smile on your face. But with that in mind, it’s still a tough task to label The Rage a good movie. It’s not.
In amongst all of the clichés and overplayed tropes, mind, there are some pretty good kills in The Rage’s third act, and some of the visuals and editing work well when highlighting the darker moments of the story. It’s just that these kills and stylish cuts are massively overshadowed by the lesser components of Carrie 2. Of course, regardless it's always fun to watch the meek victim flip the tables on her tormentors, and that is again the case in The Rage.
Where the bonus material is concerned, the audio commentary with director Katt Shea is particularly entertaining; Katt coming off as a hugely interesting and engaging character. Other than that, an alternate ending is always fun to explore, as are deleted scenes and collector’s booklets.
All in all, The Rage: Carrie 2 still feels like a completely unnecessary sequel that, while having its own merits, feels totally misjudged, rushed and sadly redundant.
Special Features: Two audio commentaries / Alternate ending / Deleted scenes / Limited edition collector’s booklet / Limited edition slipcase
THE RAGE: CARRIE 2 / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: KATT SHEA / SCREENPLAY: RAFAEL MOREU / STARRING: EMILY BERGL, JASON LONDON, AMY IRVING, DYLAN BRUNO, ZACHERY TY BRYAN / RELEASE DATE: APRIL 8TH