Weekly Wire
Austin Chronicle The Rage: Carrie 2

By Marc Savlov

MARCH 15, 1999: 

D: Robert Mandel and Katt Shea; with Emily Bergl, Jason London, Amy Irving, Dylan Bruno, J. Smith-Cameron, Rachel Blanchard, Zachery Ty Bryan, Kayla Campbell, Mena Suvari. (R, 105 min.)

Sometimes you just have to relax and realize that sequels -- bad sequels, awful sequels -- are going to be a part of the cinematic landscape until the end of the world. Nobody I know asked for Psycho 2, and it certainly wasn't me who put in a requisition order for more Halloweens. Weekend at Bernie's 2? Don't even get me started. It should come as no surprise, I suppose, that this quickie updating of the seminal De Palma horror show Carrie is marginally less palatable than a veal smoothie. Hollywood's golden rule -- if the first film makes money, make more -- is by now permanently engraved at birth on the foreheads of the execs and power brokers of Los Angeles as surely as is that tiny triptych of sixes. What surprises me, frankly, is how woefully amusing this one turned out to be. As a horror film, The Rage: Carrie 2 is a body dump of cheap shocks, even worse dialogue, and musical cues so bizarrely out of place that they seem to have carried over from another theatre entirely; as an unintentional comedy, it's a tour de farce with a gooey red dab of Grand Guignol on the side. Twenty years after the events of the first film, in which telekinetic time bomb Carrie White met her end in the wake of a tragic (though dramatically inevitable) school fire, a fresh, new progeny of the White clan blossoms forth into estrogenetic vengeance. Rachel, the girl in question (played by the charming Bergl; she has a beautiful, hesitant smile that flares across her face like some solar detonation), is one of the not-so-beautiful people, at least to the sterling jocks and their gamines that run the local high school. It doesn't seem to matter much that her striking beauty would be the toast of even the most backwater varsity squad. Here, her stylish fashion sense and wicked smarts are cause for pariah status. (Hasn't anyone involved in the production of this film noticed that Sperry Topsiders are out? Someone didn't do their homework, clearly.) When Rachel's best friend Lisa propels herself from the roof of the campus parking garage after realizing her new beau was only out for one thing, she enters into a telekinetic funk, rattling drawers and coffee cups alike. Enter London's Jesse, the jock with the heart of, if not gold, then certainly beryl, who takes to Rachel's sly wit and unconventional beauty in the proverbial heartbeat. Nothing lasts forever, though, especially in high school, and things turn dark (albeit very slowly; the film moves with a glacial pace and relies on far too many flashbacks and unnecessary zooms to trundle along) by reel six. Bergl is the film's saving grace, if there is one. The film lights up when she's onscreen, but even that can't save audiences from the sight of a disheveled, ranting Irving reprising her role as good-girl Sue Snell. Almost but not quite in the "so bad it's good" league, The Rage: Carrie 2 instead toils in high school hell and doesn't even manage to come up with one good shock.
1.0 stars


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