director Katt Shea
Living in San Francisco, as I have for the past 25 years, one of my primary sources for news and movie reviews has been The San Francisco Chronicle. And the head movie critic for most of that time has been Mick LaSalle. So, sometimes, if I’ve read only one review of a movie, it’s apt to have been written by LaSalle. While LaSalle is in tune with the general critical community, he’s also prone to outlying opinions from time to time.
His review of The Rage: Carrie 2 is probably one of those. The only reason this matters is that I’ve had it in my mind for all these years that The Rage was considered to be a pretty good take on reinventing Carrie (1976). I now see that LaSalle’s opinion on The Rage was not a common opinion, perhaps even unique.
I was pretty dubious of his opinion. It didn’t look great. And Brian De Palma’s original take on Stephen King’s novel of the same name is one of horror cinema’s ultra-iconic masterpieces.
The Rage does share a through-point with the 1976 film, in Amy Iriving reprising her role as one of the lone survivors of the high school inferno back in the day, with flashbacks from the film showing Sissy Spacek in her pig blood-covered freak out. But this is a modern tale as well, modernized for 1999, for emo kids, with a focus on a new and loathsome form of torment, in which high school jocks have a contest with a point system for girls they can bed.
Emily Bergl plays Rachel (not “Carrie”), a girl from a broken home background, but not the tormented wallflower raised by a demented mother. She does have the powers. And she uses them.
It’s neither as epic, tragic, nor iconic as the original, but it is an interesting reinvention. It’s not an improvement, it’s not a classic, nothing in comparison, but it’s a decent 1990’s film and has some things going for it.