Rabid was originally made in 1977 by David Cronenberg, this sees The Soska Sisters attempting to reimagine his material and spin it in a 21st century take. In a year that has seen many brilliant and some disappointing remakes, Rabid falls in the later, a shabby horror with little impact and effect.
The Soska Sisters’ take on the so-called ‘body horror’ genre is effective on a makeup standpoint, it looks really good, yet, it never shocks. Gore and brutality is supposed to create discomfort and shock, but with Rabid, because of the surface level narrative and one-dimensional characters, nothing comes out of those supposedly shocking moments.
Rose (Laura Vandervoort) is a scarred fashion designer, she was the victim of the car crash that took her parents lives. On the working side, her flamboyant boss never pays attention to her or her designs. After attending a party, it’s revealed that her friend has set her up to court with a co-worker, but not for the reasons she’d like. Storming out, Rose leaves the party, getting into a life-threatening motorbike accident, which ends with Rose having life-changing injuries to her face and stomach. Her mouth is sewed shut and has staples up her stomach. Eventually, she makes her way to a special clinic whose treatment apparently can heal disfigurements of human tissue.
In traditional fashion, there is an attempt to create visceral moments of vivid gruesome horror with disturbing imagery. Yet, the shallow nature of everything surrounding acts as a block to disturbing nature of what is seen, as simply, it doesn’t do anything. With the impact lessened, what is left to enjoy and admire is little.
Smallville and Supergirl’s Laura Vandervoort does a fine job with what was given, a 29 times over re-written screenplay that had been stuck in development hell for years. Yikes, and it really does show. The dialogue is unnatural and choppy, creating an instant disconnect with the spectator, as it feels written. But not in a Tarantino-esc way, where what’s written sounds some-what written, but in a fantastical manor. No, what is done is very far to the opposite, it’s very sloppy filmmaking.
The Soska Sisters’ direction is fine, nothing calls to the direction, which isn’t always a bad thing. There is one specific moment that works, a vividly demonic hallucination full of stop-motion-like figures chopping up and dissecting Rose. That is the type of horrific imagery that should’ve been used, something more psychological. The gore is greatly distributed and practically used, as mentioned prior, it doesn’t have any impact, but that’s not down to the makeup and effects team.
Rabid is a shabby horror-less horror with little impact and effect. Laura Vandervoort makes the most of the tosh given. It comes with some interesting imagery, but it can’t quite hang on.
2/5 Stars ★★☆☆☆