Tuesday, 4 August 2015

The Rage: Carrie 2

Title:  The Rage: Carrie 2
Director: Katt Shea
Released: 1999
Starring: Emily Bergl, Jason London, Dylan Bruno, J. Smith-Cameron, Zachery Ty Bryan, Charlotte Ayanna,  Justin Urich, Mena Suvari, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Amy Irving

Plot: Twenty-Two years after Carrie’s psychic rampage, troubled teen and social outcast Rachel (Bergl) discovers her own psychic powers awakening and which soon are threatening to consume her when her only friend Rachel (Suvari) commits suicide after being used by the school football team.

Review:  No doubt regular readers will have heard me proclaiming my love for the golden cinema year of 1999. Sadly though it was not the case for everything released that year as this film proved. True I should have known this going in, with many fans of the original being highly dismissive of it, but then recently I’ve tried not to listen to the naysayers so much, especially when we live in these times were movies are regularly graded one star before the film has even been released….ok true some of these were Uwe Boll movies which it’s safe to say would be what these films would still be rated when they had been released anyway. Regardless I wanted to give this one the benefit of the doubt only to find out around the half way point that the detractors may have been right with this one.

The original “Carrie” was never a film that really resonated with me in seemingly the same way it did with seemingly everyone else, yes it was an enjoyable watch but certainly not the incredible experience that their rave reviews had promised. Still there was something about this film back when it had its original release which caught my curiosity even if it’s taken me until now to actually watch it.

Opening with Rachel’s schizophrenic mother being institutionalised, believing her daughter to be targeted by the devil as her awakening psychic powers cause windows and doors to open and close wildly and leading her sloppily painting a protective barrier around the room. Years later Rachel’s life hasn’t improved any as she is forced to live with her abusive foster parents, who seemingly only care more about claiming the welfare checks than actually looking after her. Things only get worse for her when the school jocks decide to target her best friend Lisa as part of their game were they award each other points for the girls they sleep with mirroring the real life events of “The Spur Posse” and leading to her throwing herself off the school roof. Of course if this wasn’t enough doom and gloom her dog also gets run over (don’t worry he survives) all adding up to quite a pile of issues she has to deal with while slightly overkill when you consider that Carrie only needed a domineering mother and a bunch of tampon throwing girls to establish her grim situation.

So how does any of this link to the original film? Well it turns out that Rachel is Carrie’s half-sister in one of the more questionable moves the film makes to tie itself to the original. The other way it attempts to do this is by bringing back Amy Irving as Sue Snell who having survived Carrie’s meltdown in the original film now works as the school guidance councillor and recognising the same signs in Rachel attempts to help her control her power before she loses control. Ultimatly her character is used to help fill in the gaps in the questionable script, while giving director Katt Shea and excuse to include footage from the original “Carrie” after Sissy Spacek turned down the chance to cameo in this film, opting perhaps more wisely to give her permission for her likeness to be used instead.

While the initial setup works well with Rachel’s fierce outsider making a nice contrast to the terminally withdrawn original Carrie, more so when her position in the school social order still makes her a suitable target for the jocks. As such here we have Rachel getting involved with Jesse (London) one of the jocks, while the film plays around with the idea of their sudden relationship being all part of the game the jocks are playing, or does he actually care for her. A plot point which ultimately is responsible for the downfall of the film as it veers away from a horror film and confusingly into being a teen romance movie and bringing the whole film to a screeching standstill until it remembers that it was supposed to be a horror film.

The jocks meanwhile are your usual knuckle draggers, able to do exactly what they want with little fear of repercussion, outside of the school coach seemingly attempting to molest them as part of his motivation techniques, as seen during a hazing heavy post game recap. Elsewhere despite one of the players facing statutory rape charges for his involvement in their ongoing game, finds all charges quickly pushed aside by the D.A due to political influence of the boys families, though it remains to be seen what political powers such a small town holds? I wasn’t sure if I should also be surprised or not that Zachery Ty Bryan is amongst these jocks, especially when he’s spent most of his career playing this role even as late as 2006 when he showed up in “The Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift” which was also his last film of note unless you like movies made by the Sci-fi channel in which case it would have been him playing the most questionable Thor to date in “Thor: Hammer of the Gods” and that’s even including the one which showed up in “The Incredible Hulk Returns” but I digress.

Perhaps what saved this film for me is with the finale when Rachel has her own psychic meltdown and dishes out some much needed punishment on the jocks and their followers which arguably might be better than the original even if no one is getting pigs blood dumped over them. Rachel’s cheap rose tattoo however does grow covering her arms and face with thorny lines which looks pretty cool. The carnage of this finale scene though is almost enough to balance out the earlier flaws of the film and randomly has several of the jocks trying to defend themselves with spear guns for seemingly no other purpose than to setup some of the more impressive kills of this scene.

Ultimately the cons for this film outweigh the pro’s while certainly not helped by a bloated runtime which could have lost twenty minutes and perhaps been more effective as a result, while the attempts to tie this this film to the original are almost as laughable as the TV movie remake which attempted to turn the concept of Carrie into a series (still not sure how that would work). If anything this is one for completists or the curious while certainly nothing to deserve a second viewing, even if the ending is simply baffling. 

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