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Rabid (2019) Movie Review

Updated on December 13, 2019
Noel Penaflor7 profile image

I've Been A Film Enthusiast as Long as I can remember. I Suffer from the Same Disease Leonard did in Memento.

 
 
MPAA Rating
Unrated
Running Time
107 minutes
Directors
Jen and Sylvia Soska
Writers
Jen & Sylvia Soska and John Serge

As you might know, the Soska sisters (American Mary, that 80s rap song Mary Mary from Run-DMC, the children’s song Mary had a little lamb) Rabid is a remake of the Robert Zemeckis comedy classic Who Framed Roger Rabid (1987).

I pretty sure that’s not it.

You’re right. Let me recheck my facts and write it again.

As you might know, the Soska sisters (Dead Hooker in a Trunk, an actual dead hooker in a trunk but it wasn’t their fault because the car was rented) Rabid is a remake of the 2010 depression porn drama Rabid Hole starring Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart. This movie was so gloomy I didn’t think it needed a remake unless you spliced in images of animals that need adopting.

I don’t think that’s correct. But now I’m depressed.

I blame Rabid Hole.

Speaking of remaking rabid holes, did you know that the Soska sisters (ABC’s of Death 2 segment “T is For Torture Porn”) Rabid is a remake of the 1977 David Cronenberg horror classic Rabid starring adult film star Marilyn Chambers and 45 inches worth of sideburns?

I had a science teacher Mr. Cronenberg in high school. He’s dead now.

I’ll bet your Mr. Cronenberg saw the original Rabid and wondered where he’d seen its main actress before. Looked at the back section of his videotape collection marked “Fishing Shows” or “Dwayne and Anne’s Wedding” and felt free that he could watch one of Marilyn Chambers’ movies without wearing a trench coat, a fake moustache and a fake name (“Mike Cronenglass”) to leave with the sweaty Vitalis-wearing clerk as he perused the more sticky shelves of a video store in the 70s.

I know Mr. Cronenberg is dead, but David Cronenberg is still very much alive and Canadian. I don’t know how he feels about the Canadian Soska sisters remaking his movie, but this is how I feel...

Synopsis

It’s just another typical day at work for Rose Miller (the awesomely named Laura Vandervoort – pronounced just like it’s spelled). She almost gets into an accident on her moped going to work. As a result she’s late.

Rose works as an assistant to super-German fashion designer Gunter (Mackenzie Gray). Gunter berates Rose for being late. Rose is mortified but she doesn’t realize that Gunter is just being German.

Rose wants to be a fashion designer when she grows up, but Gunter dismisses her designs as functional but forgettable. Rose wants to cry, but she’s asked by her co-worker Brad (Benjamin Hollingsworth) out on a date to a huge fashion shindig later that night.

While Rose is at the party, she overhears people in the bathroom talking about her and that makes her super sad. She ditches the party in a huff, and then gets into a huge accident on her moped.

Not to be mean to Rose right after she’s gotten into a potentially deadly accident, but maybe she shouldn’t be driving mopeds. Or any street legal vehicle if she’s that accident prone.

The guy holding the flashlight isn't even a doctor.
The guy holding the flashlight isn't even a doctor.

It’s a week later, and Rose finally awakens from a coma. She’s not dead and gone to Canadian heaven, but she’s alive and all her health care is paid for. Rose’s face and chest are pretty disfigured. It will take multiple procedures of reconstructive surgery and months of healing, but Rose will be just fine.

Rose has now moved in with model and childhood friend Chelsea (Hanneke Talbot). She even allows space in her fridge for Rose to put all her gross vegetables (Rose is a vegetarian).

Rose also has a marker that never seems to run out of ink. I want that marker. I need that marker.

While reading numerous Joker reviews, Rose finds a website for the experimental Burroughs Institute. The Institute run by the prestigious and not-disturbing-at-all Dr. William Burroughs (Ted Atherton, exuding Uncle Creepy vibes with every line reading) may be able to help Rose with her facial reconstruction, using state-of-the-art techniques pooh-poohed by regular doctors that aren’t as cool as Dr. Bill. And if she qualifies, everything will be paid for.

Rose is white, so she qualifies. Free surgery!!!

To stave off depression while she recovers, Rose goes on the internet or works on new designs. That should turn out just fine because if you ever want to feel better after surviving a traumatic experience, the internet is the place to go. Hope she spends an extended amount of time at the comments section.

Things are looking up for Rose.
Things are looking up for Rose.

After a surgery montage set to 80s aerobics music, Rose’s face is as good as new. Dr. Burroughs says it’ll take time to heal and that she should aid the healing with diet and the help of a special protein shake created by the Burroughs Institute in these nice nondescript red containers.

Rose is astounded at the way she looks and feels. You wouldn’t think that she’s menace to herself and others on a moped.

Rose can now return to work. Her new designs are impressing the German oppression out of Gunter. There’s only one small catch…

Rose is having nightmares. Dr. Burroughs says that that’s part of the process, the “hallucinations” will come and go. Just keep drinking your totally harmless protein shake.

In her waking hours, she’s seems to be craving meat. And blood.

Rose is walking the streets at night. Doing things to strangers that you would call stranger things. Then she’s waking up and not remembering what happened.

Is Rose becoming a vampire?

Not quite. Rose is becoming…rabid. One of her encounters she doesn’t remember just bit someone. That foam all over his mouth doesn’t look like toothpaste.

Oh well, it’s not like this could spread all over the world and infect anyone within a 10-foot radius.

Or could it?

What Works With Rabid

  • The best performance by a blonde white woman in a horror movie this year goes to…Lupita Nyong’o in Us. The second best performance goes to…Samara Weaving in Ready or Not. The third best performance goes to Laura Vandervoort, as she does all the heavy lifting in Rabid without breaking much of a sweat. Despite everything she Rose goes through, Vandervoort never makes her less than human and carries you through Rabid’s multitude of dead spots.
  • The Doctor Joel Smithers award goes to Ted Atherton as Dr. William Burroughs. Burroughs is such a transparent villain that you smile whenever he spouts one of his “assuring” lines to Rose. He might as well have a nametag with a swirly bad-guy mustache on it. You can tell Atherton is having fun and you wish the audience was having as much fun.
  • The allusions to the original Rabid in the blood soaked climax show you what could have been had most of the remake not been so stultifying and standard. The final 20 minutes are the only time during Rabid ’19 that the audience feels invested in the story, rather than passively watching what happens to Rose because nothing else is holding their interest.

What Doesn’t Work With Rabid

  • You’re an hour into Rabid before you encounter something close to a scare. If you didn’t know what you were watching it would feel like a Canadian after school special about loving and accepting yourself and following your dreams. The poster for Rabid is scarier than the first hour of Rabid. If you get through it, it’s worth the wait.

Overall

There’s not a dull moment in the Rabid remake. There’s not a lot of scary moments either. Recommended, but not rabidly.

3 stars for Rabid 2019

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