When I first heard the news that Shout Factory was releasing this double feature, it delighted me, only because I knew that the highly overrated The Rage: Carrie 2 was finally getting the Blu-ray release that it deserves.
Don’t get me wrong: the 2002 remake of Carrie has its merits. Angela Bettis (fresh off of the creepiest role of her career in May) gives the best portrayal of the title character since Sissy Spacek in the original De Palma film. It’s a beautiful performance in its own right, and she shoulders the entire project like a pro. Patricia Clarkson is also effective of Carrie’s crazy mama, Margaret. She’s a tad more restrained than Piper Laurie, but she pulls it off and manages to freak us out.
The only thing about this production is that, well, it was shot for television and it looks that way. The special effects are laughable and the infamous prom sequence suffers as a result. The content restrictions of network television also do nothing to help. Carrie is R rated material, but has been more or less tamed to a PG-13. The intensity is missing. At times, the acting is horrid from the supporting cast. Other than that, it has its moments. However, we all know that it can never replace the De Palma classic.
But, let’s be honest, if you’re like me at all, what you’re really here for is the second disc in this set, The Rage: Carrie 2.
As far as horror sequels go, The Rage: Carrie 2 is one of my absolute favorites. Directed by Katt Shea, the film takes the material that it is working with and cranks the feminist slant all the way to eleven – which works like a charm.
The Rage: Carrie 2 tells the story of Rachel (played by the beautiful Emily Bergl) an emotionally tortured goth-chick foster kid, who has only one friend in Lisa (Mena Suvari). Despite the inherent outward and inward beauty of both ladies, nearly everyone on campus treats them like the two most unattractive, repulsive hags on the planet. Nothing could be farther from the truth. From what we understand, these two are very close – inseparable. They even have matching tats. Rachel seems to be the more reclusive of the two. She suffers from constant bitchy resting face and – you know – when she gets upset, her telekinesis gets out of control. Other than that, she is an all around pleasant individual.
Things begin to spiral out of control when one of the rich kid jocks has sex with Lisa and then immediately dumps her. You see, all of the jocks (except for Jason London’s Jessie character) are playing a sick game, trying to see how many girls that they can deflower before they graduate. They even have a points system. Some girls are worth more points than others, based on outward appearance. Basically, these guys are chauvinistic assholes with no redeeming qualities whatsoever.
The cruel nature of the break up is too much for Lisa, and she dives off of a building to her death. The loss is too much for Rachel, and when she finds out who is at fault, she doesn’t hesitate to let them know what she thinks. Meanwhile, friendly jock Jessie takes Rachel under his wing, and the two begin a fragile friendship.
But the jocks are scared. They know how dangerous their little game is. They know what’s at stake. And so they begin scheming, by dreaming up the ultimate prank that will destroy Rachel.
When all is said and done, they’re going to wish they hadn’t.
The Rage: Carrie 2 is not a perfect film by any means – but it’s not lazy. The depiction of high school bullying and alpha-male aggressiveness is quite memorable. This is a nasty film, but with a strong female hero that we genuinely sympathize with from the opening moments forward. It is not for the faint of heart. This is a film that fully earns its R rating. For serious horror fans, it shouldn’t be missed. I revisit it often, and I am glad that this release has finally arrived.
Shout Factory presents these two films with director’s commentaries, as well as an alternate ending for The Rage: Carrie 2. The 1080p transfer is absolutely gorgeous. Be sure to add this one to your collection.