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DVD Review

DVD cover

The Rage


Starring: Andrew Divoff and Erin Brown
Anchor Bay Entertainment
RRP: £15.99
Certificate: 18
Available 16 March 2009

Dr Viktor Vasilienko, a gifted Russian scientist perfects a cure for cancer, but before he can bring it to the attention of the world his work is destroyed by the military. Twisted by anger he flees to America and plans his revenge by creating a highly virulent rage virus to spread throughout capitalist culture countries (why not begin with the motherland then?). Whilst still not perfected, one of his test subjects escapes to attack some young adults at an isolated party. Zombie-like it craves human flesh. Afterward, it staggers off into the woods and collapses to in turn be preyed upon by carrion buzzards. A group of late teenagers are driving back from the party in their mobile home when they are set upon by the rage-infected birds. They flee through the woods and take refuge in what appears to be a large cowshed building. Only when they are trapped inside do they discover they have walked into the mad doctor's laboratory. There is a multitude of hideous test subjects, and Vasilienko needs more...

If you knew a film was directed by a make-up and special effects technician you might expect lots of blood, gore and severed limbs, and in this particular case you wouldn't be wrong. Robert Kurtzman and his Precinct 13 Productions (do you know about this, John Carpenter?) must have ordered-in extra vats of face-shaping gunge, as every character connected to the doctor is a hideous, misshapen ex-human creature.

I've stated many times before in reviews that I'm no fan of gore splatter for its own sake, and The Rage steps firmly over that boundary. The effects, although I'm sure technically clever, don't always work here. There are lots of cartoony CGI sequences, such as the big explosion and the swooping vultures. The buzzards look much more convincing from a distance, because close up they resemble muppets and I couldn't help thinking of the Swedish Chef forever attempting to get the live chickens into his soup.

As for the plot itself (yes it has one... barely), it borrows heavily from other sources. When one of Vasilienko's failed experiments escapes from his lab and causes minor chaos at the party, I was immediately reminded of one of the later Friday 13th films wherein Jason rampages in a rather more full-on display at an open party on the edge of a cornfield. The scene is set with the same heavy drinking, drug-taking and girls running around in their underwear and having sex (gosh!). Being under siege in an incapacitated vehicle is straight out of Jeepers Creepers 2, and the grisly scientific experiments are reminiscent of one of the Re-Animator sequels, but without the dark humour. Only two lines made me laugh, one of which was: "Die, you Oompa Loompa!"

So, The Rage (wasn't the 28 Days Later virus called Rage?!) is a bitter cocktail of zombie movie, Friday 13th and Re-Animator. It's watchable, but nothing we haven't seen many times before. As a character says as they are driving their mobile home through the woods, "A hundred shitty horror movies start out like this."


Ty Power

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