The Rage: Carrie 2 (1999)

20 Mar

936full-the-rage-carrie-2-screenshot

Smith’s Verdict: **

Reviewed by Tanner Smith

“The Rage: Carrie 2” is the supposed sequel to the 1976 thriller “Carrie,” but it very clumsily tries to establish a connection to the original film. Maybe if it were a remake, it wouldn’t be too bad. But the film itself still suffers by the weak attempt to “continue the story,” odd choices of camera angles and cinematography, and just a carbon copy of the original film.

The protagonist is Rachel (Emily Bergl) who, like Carrie, is among the “bottom-feeders” in her high school. She’s a loner—her home life is an unhappy one with foster parents (her birth mother is locked away in an institution) and she has one friend, a fellow loser named Lisa (Mena Suvari). But soon, her world is torn apart when Lisa, heartbroken after losing her virginity to a complete jerk, commits suicide by jumping off the roof of the school building. It’s then that Rachel realizes her power to move things with her mind. She mostly does it when she gets angry or nervous.

Rachel has no one, until friendly jock Jesse (Jason London) finds himself attracted to her and asks her on a date, which she accepts. They see each other for quite a time, making his snobby ex-girlfriend jealous. So she, her friends, and a few jocks come up with a plan to mess with her. But with Rachel’s developing (and deadly) telekinetic abilities, they’re in for a real surprise that can only end in bloodshed…

What doesn’t work at all is the forced connection between Carrie and Rachel. Obviously, they’re both telekinetic, but then it turns out that they’re related—Rachel is Carrie’s half-niece. Sue Snell (Amy Irving, reprising her role as one of the survivors of the massacre at the end of the original film) is a school counselor trying to find some answers regarding Rachel’s power and sees her mentally insane mother (nicely played, given the circumstances, by J. Smith Cameron) to ask some important questions. These scenes are weakly written and serve no purpose. Why not try and make this movie a “re-imagining” rather than a sequel?

The camerawork and editing are all over the map. There are insane closeups, move-ins, “funhouse-mirror-type” imagery added to scenes, and also black-and-white shots that serve no purpose other than…being shot in black-and-white. This makes the violent climax hard to watch and really jumbled into a muddled mess, when it should have been either as chilling as or better than the climax in the original film (at least, in that climax, the only gimmickry was a split-screen effect).

There are some things that the movie does do right. In particular, Emily Bergl does a good job at portraying this high school outcast looking to belong. And the relationship between Rachel and Jesse is well-developed and the actors do show good chemistry together. You can see that Jesse genuinely likes Rachel, and is not in on the joke or seeing her because someone asks her to. (That’s an upgrade from the original film, which used the relationship between the girl and boy as a pity date.) I was more interested in this opposites-attract relationship than with any of the telekinesis stuff. And there are some nice touches of foreshadowing, like a song called “Backstabbing Liar” being played just before Rachel is about to be humiliated.

“The Rage: Carrie 2” is just a mess. There’s too many things going on, only very few to care about, and despite winning performances by Emily Bergl and Jason London, there’s nothing really memorable about it. While the original film wasn’t perfect, it knew how to set up the horror aspects of a teenage girl’s powers taking over. “The Rage: Carrie 2” just knows how to set up an unpleasant orgy of carnage.

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