The Rage: Carrie 2
Rating -

Horror (US); 1999; Rated R; 93 Minutes

Amy Irving: Sue Snell
Emily Bergl: Rachel
Jason London: Jesse
Dylan Bruno: Mark
J. Smith-Cameron: Barbara

Produced by Paul Monash and Patrick J. Palmer; Directed by Katt Shea; Screenwritten by Rafael Moreu

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Written by DAVID KEYES

"The Rage: Carrie 2" is a film where the makers seem to be just as bored with the setup as we are. Its central plot borrows endlessly from the formula of the original movie; girl has secret powers, mother is wacko, girl gets picked on, girl gets boyfriend, girl gets friends, girl gets pranked, girl goes wacko. The major difference, however, is that in the original film, director Brian DePalma knew how to create a character we could sympathize with, and he knew how to turn her into the villain when we least expect it. That movie, you might say, happened with the right timing and precision. Katt Shea, who directed the sequel, knows how to modernize a style and mood, but has no passion or effort when it comes to continuing a story like this, nor does she allow the main character to be sympathizable. Things occur here almost squarely as they did in the first, which is for the most part distracting, repetitive, and unusable at a time when horror is just a genre of tired clichés.

But here's the real deal: "The Rage: Carrie 2" is not a bad movie; just a misguided one. Parts of it work well on their own terms, but others are ineffective and obvious. It's about a girl named Rachel, who is laughed at behind her back by snobbish teens who consider her appearance to be "evil," or "satanic" (funny how they always consider these people to be Satan worshipers when they wear complete black). When she falls in love with a football player, the sex-crazed varsity team decides to prank her during one of the team's victory parties. They manipulate her into the trap, and once it's revealed, she goes nutzoid and turns the party into a blood bath. In other words, it's the original "Carrie" minus the terror.

The film opens with an intriguing scene involving the painting of a red line across the living room of a candlelit house. The woman who strokes the paint across walls and lamps continuously repeats the same words while doing so: "don't take my daughter," she demands. The little girl she speaks of watches on in confusion. Later that evening, that woman is wheeled out of her house and into an asylum. The young girl sees this, and then reenters the house, where doors slam behind her with no contact, and windows slam up and down without warning. She covers her ears and yells "stop it!" time and time again. Afterwards, when she settles down with her dog in the closet, we can tell that this is undoubtedly one of those 'gifted' youngsters.

Now flash forward about ten or fifteen years. Rachel, the girl from the first sequence, is full-grown and under authority of careless foster parents. On her way to school, Rachel's best friend confides in her that the night before, she lost her virginity. Later we learn that the boy she lost her virginity to is a football player who, along with the rest of the football team, sleeps with girls merely to earn points in a game they have created. Offscreen, the girl learns that her sexual experience was simply a one-night stand, and then commits suicide by jumping from the roof. Rachel emerges from the school and finds her friend crushed on the hood of a car. At one point, while the soundtrack deafens the audience with an annoying chord, lockers and doors slam together, symbolizing the mental abilities that Rachel girl carries.

Then the events that surround her begin to go noticed by a school counselor named Sue (Amy Irving). Sue is, of course, the sole survivor of the original film, and so through a duration of her screen time, she remembers the disturbing moments that took place in the original film through effective flashbacks. An administrator asks the Sue, "you're not helping Rachel to try and save the girl who died twenty years ago, are you?" She says no, but if you've seen the first film, you obviously know she's lying.

Then the script offers two situations that carry out the climax. For one, Rachel begins to grow close to the only non-sexually driven football player, named Jesse (Jason London). On the other hand, Sue investigates Rachel's past and learns from her still-insane mother that her real father is Ralph White— undoubtedly the same man who fathered legendary Carrie White. Rachel is, of course, unaware of her father's true identity, and even though Ms. Snell attempts to tell her of it during a scene in which she discovers the remains of the old high school which Carrie destroyed, the scenario is never explained as well as it should be.

Let's say that, yes, it's possible for telekinesis to be a hereditary trait from the father. Does it only develop in his daughters, or in his sons as well? What if he has 15 children? Do they all have to have different mothers, or can the same child develop the same traits as her sister with the same identical parents? And if the father is capable of carrying this thing, why does the movie leave an open door of what happened to Ralph? Isn't it possible that he could be out there impregnating another woman, who will star in "Carrie 3?" Does that mean that this series will be continued in another twenty years?

Anyway, both of those situations (Rachel's developing life and Sue's discovery) find culmination in the film's final scene (naturally), which is probably the first in horror history containing (1) flying CDs, (2) castration with a spear gun, (3) glasses shattering in a person's eyes, and (4) an death by an arrow in the head for two people on opposite sides of a door. Twenty years ago, if all of these things had been incorporated into a horror movie, people would have covered their eyes, screamed, or ran out of the theater feeling nauseous. Nowadays, all it does is allow the audience to dim their eyes and say to themselves, "it's not scary, but it's interesting."

Situations pile upon situations and neither emerge effective or competent. Sometimes, when a horror movie uses an exhaustive set of clichés to maneuver the script through all the plot holes, its necessary to burst out into laughter while in the theater, because it gets so ridiculous its hilarious. "The Rage: Carrie 2" never reaches that level of horrendousness, because it has some intrigue around the edges. But the edges are not what we pay attention to here. The internal conflict never gets off the ground, is predictable, and for the most part, dull. Still, I wouldn't label it an absolutely "bad" movie. Maybe incompetent, but certainly not bad.

© 1999, David Keyes, Please e-mail the author here if the above review contains any spelling or grammar mistakes.
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