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Rabid - Grimmfest 2019

Directed by Jen Soska & Sylvia Soska

A reimagining of the 1977 Cronenberg classic of the same name, Rabid tells the story of Rose (Laura Vandervoort). Timid and unassuming she dreams of making it big in the fashion industry, yet her confidence always holds her back. After a horrific accident she is left horrendously scarred beyond recognition and so seeks help at a radical stem cell treatment centre that not only cures her, but gives her an unrelenting case of blood lust.

The genuine love of horror is evident in every scene, a passion deeply engrained in the Soska sisters that shines through. But what it has in understanding, it lacks in acting ability and good writing. Like a subpar soap opera its actors barely feel believable. This is most likely due to the fact that they live in that ever so common Horror based world, where the surreal and extraordinary aspects of the plot seem absolutely normal in their everyday lives. This could have been genuinely forgiven with a more engaging story, but it drags and reveals little gore until its end. Any violent scene it does show is immediately cut before getting too gruesome or bloody.

With drama that feels forced rather than fluid, the characters come across as awkward and cumbersome, I was quite literally begging for the violence I came there for, but never really got it. The characters include badly written doctors who show Rose’s horrible reflection, then immediately state ‘Not to look at yourself in a mirror.’ Additionally the characters who justify that they are in their rights to literally kill other people, without any trouble from authorities or even remorse. The cast is the films biggest problem, they never feel relatable at all or react like any real human would. Our lead character Rose is engaging enough, just about getting you through the other dead weight. But when people are not literally astonished and flabbergasted that a mere skin graft has transformed her into a vision of perfection, it is unbelievably stupid!

The film’s one positive is its great use of practical effects. Aside from the usual skin tearing and blood gushing fun, the disfigured prosthetic used after Rose’s accident is tremendously realistic. Bare teeth jut out, exposed through torn skin. It is extremely hard to look at and so I was not too surprised when I heard the Soska Sisters Twitter account was banned after releasing a promotional image of it. But this only led me to being highly disappointed after her transformation, when the effects gradually change from astonishing to mainstream and feeling like any other cheap horror film.

I was really excited for this film, highly regretting that I missed it at FrightFest 2019, but alas I put too much stock in the Soska Sisters. Knowing they are big horror fans themselves, I had hoped they had what it took and the knowledge to create something of note. But it was unfortunately nothing more than a film to fall into horror obscurity.


101 Films presents Rabid on Blu-ray & DVD 7 October Pre-order from 101 Films store:


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