Title: Carrie/The Rage: Carrie 2
HTS Overall Score:
WARNING: THE SCORES ABOVE ARE A COMBINED SCORE FROM BOTH FILMS, THE INDIVIDUAL SCORES ARE CONTAINED BELOW IN THE INDIVIDUAL SECTIONS OF THE REVIEW
Another double feature from SCREAM Factory, and this time we get to take on some modern additions to the “Carrie” Universe. I honestly thought that the “Carrie” included in this double feature was actually the Brian De Palma original 1976 film to coincide with the sequel “The Rage: Carrie 2”. It wasn’t till I read the press release last month that I realized that this was actually the 2002 made for TV remake version as well as the sequel, which is an actual sequel to the De Palma movie. It’s an interesting 2 pack, and one that certainly adds a sense of completion for those of you, like me, who like to have every iteration of a series, even if they aren’t always the cream of the crop.
The 2002 remake is a near blow for blow remake of the original with a few added characters and scenes added in that make it slightly more faithful to the Stephen King novel. We still have our heroine (or villain depending on your point of view) in the form of Carrie White (Angela Bettis). She’s a mousy little girl who’s not exactly very worldly. Upon having her first period and being terrified of the experience, Carrie is laughed at by the other girls in the most humiliating way possible. Not about to let the experience go, the bullies abuse Carrier mercilessly from then on out, stuffing her locker with tampons and statements of “plug it up”. Headed up by the vicious Sue Schnell, the girls make Carrie’s life a literal hell and one that they soon may regret.
After the physical education teacher puts a stop to the shenanigans, things look like they might be getting better. Sue backs off and seems to show some real remorse. She goes so far as to try and mend fences and even offers her boyfriend to Carrie as a date for the prom. As we all know this isn’t really a fence mending gesture but rather a way for the girls to humiliate Carrie even more and this soon unleashes the supernatural powers hidden deep within the tortured girl.
The 2002 remake of “Carrier” is a rather strange bird. It is slightly more faithful to Stephen King’s original novel, but is a movie that just seem completely unnecessary. The tale had been told VERY well in 1976, and the added pieces and scenarios really don’t add much to the picture. Also take into effect that there is no reimagining or different take. It’s really just a blow by blow remake of the original with some VERY slight deviations. As a horror movie it’s rather weak due to the fact that this was made for broadcast TV. As such, there is nothing that brings this anywhere close to an R rating, since the days of HBO and Showtime weren’t exactly the rage back then. All of the sexual overtones, the blood, the gore, it’s all missing, leaving nothing but the story. The low budget for the movie also has some downsides, as the effects were very obviously not made for a high definition audience, and the cheap sets and smeary camerawork make the thing look a little bit hokey.
The acting is pretty decent, especially since there is some up and coming TV stars in the lineup. Carrie isn’t as nuanced as Sissy Spaceck portrayed her, but Angela Bettis does an admirable job at tackling the troubled teen (certainly better than Chloe Grace Moretz did). Even without the gore and guts I felt reasonably disturbed by the actions of the teens and really admire the level of creep that Stephen King could emote from such simple things as a highschool experience. It was decent TV movie overall, that actually spring boarded into writing the famed “Hannibal” TV series that’s ongoing as we speak (and I can’t wait to get back to the new season this year).
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=42906[/img]The Rage: Carrie 2
Sequels are a rarity after a movie has aged a certain amount. Most of them tend to follow right on the heels of the original, or just a few years afterwards in order to capitalize on the rush from the first movie. Almost never is a sequel made 23 years after the original, as “The Rage: Carrie 2” is. I’m not sure WHY it was even made, as “Carrie” became a cult classic, but still only a CULT classic amongst horror aficionados. Brian De Palma’s take on female dynamics and maturity in a young age has been immortalized amongst certain classes in the horror genre, but it’s not like the fans were begging for another one. However, it seems that the powers that be deigned to give us a follow up nearly a quarter century later.
Rachel Lang (Emily Bergl) is your typical late 90’s/early 2000’s gothy teenage outcast. She’s only got one real friend in the form of Lisa (Mina Suvari), and that friend is ripped from her as Lisa commits suicide. Like every school there are clichés that dominate the playing fields. We have the nerds, the goths, the hackey sack kids, the intellectuals, and the jocks. Unfortunately the jocks appearing to be playing a brutal game that the rest of the kids aren’t playing. This isn’t your standard game, but a game of how many girls a football jock can bag and then dump on the same night. It’s been played before in other real life schools, but usually with less devastating results. Lisa is the victim of one of the jocks cruel game machinations and the game is her reason for diving off the top of a building.
Jessie Ryan (Jason London) is a jock, but he has qualms about the morality of the game and soon has second thoughts when he falls for Rachel. They have a lot in common and he really doesn’t view her as the next potential target. Of course Rachel doesn’t know anything about the game and Jessie doesn’t volunteer any information as the two of them get romantically involved. Simultaneously the school counselor, Sue Snell (Amy Irving, reprising her role from the 1976 film), recognizes the same telekinetic powers in Rachel as Carrie exhibited 23 years ago in a blaze of destruction. Delving deeper into the case she soon finds out that it’s not something supernatural, but something genetic, as Carrie and Rachel are actually fathered by the same man, thusly passing on a recessive gene. Now Sue has to see if she can stop Rachel and get her help before she finds out about the complicity of the jocks in her friend’s death or do something to herself in self-loathing.
Ever since that stupid sheep cloning incident in the 1990’s, there was a surge of movies that dealt with genetics. Everyone and their mother started infusing genetic issues into every type of movie. I mean, we all remember how the mystical force got destroyed by midi-chlorians and even the “Alien” franchise fell victim to that trend. Now we are forced to watch as the supernatural telekinesis of Carrie gets beaten into the viewer’s heads that it was nothing but a piece of nature, a genetic flaw that manifested. If there was anything that didn’t need explaining, it was how Carrie got her powers, or how Luke could use the Force. Even the plotline dealing with the genetic traits is lost to the viewer as it peters out into nothingness as Rachel unleashes her powers on the evil students who mock her in a near clone even of the original movie.
I have to give credit to the director and crew for really trying, as the movie itself isn’t bad at all. I really enjoyed it as a twisted teen horror movie all the way up until the very end as it started to fizzle a bit. It isn’t something that I would consider as a worthy follow up to Brian De Palma’s excellent tale of terror from the 70s, but it certainly does work pretty well on its own. The blood and good get amped up to the nth degree in the final 20 minutes as Rachel turns the after game party into a bloodbath that would send most people to the psych ward. It’s a little cheesy, and certainly paint by the numbers, but what horror movie isn’t these days?
Rated TV-14/Rated R for strong graphic horror violence and gore, brief strong sexuality and language
Despite being listed as 1.33:1 on the pack of the package, the “Carrie” remake is actually in a television format of 1.78:1 and looks very “digital”. This was the time when digital cameras were making their way into the filming world and they weren't as polished and refined as the ones they have today. Especially considering that “Carrie” was a made for TV movie and utilized those same digital cameras that were used for sitcoms and the like during those early 2000 years. The image is decidedly digital with a slightly heightened frame rate and some very washed out colors. The movie looks decidedly flat and one dimensional with very little primary color usage at all. Blacks are rather grey and detail isn't much better than the DVD. A smooth and processed low budget look for sure, and while it doesn't seem to have any manipulation done to it, the picture is rather disappointing considering. the stylization created by the director made for a very hazy, dreamlike state, and the image certainly looks better than old MGM DVD.
The Rage: Carrie 2
The video for “The Rage: Carrie 2” is surprisingly decent, without a lot of blemishes or alterations to the print. Detail is strong with some decent colors, and the resolution uptick from the old DVD is certainly very obvious. The one thing that I was really worried about in the whole transfer was a lot of artifacting and DNR or haloing, but it was devoid of those issues. I noticed the movie was a tad soft in comparison to a fully restored movie, and this was definitely the original master, but it’s been left unmolested and besides a few speckles and hairs on the print looks rather nice. Grain is well defined, but left in a thin layer over the film and black levels are excellent.
This remake not only had the distinction of being DTV, but also a direct to TELEVISION distinction as well, as you can probably guess, the audio was made for the stereo televisions of the day. There is a 5.1 track as well as a lossless 2.0 track as well, but I have to give the final count to the 5.1 track, as it has more dimensionality to it as well as a thicker LFE level. The 5.1 track is mainly front heavy, and keeps the dialog up in the center channel. The vocals are reasonably clear and don’t seem to have any distortion to them, and the surround channels get some occasional work with random side noises, like a car door slamming. LFE is very mild, and really not that prevalent considering its lowly origins. It’s a decent track that once again, does the best it can with a movie that obviously had to stick to a budget.
The Rage: Carrie 2
Both audio tracks carry the a 5.1 DTS-HD MA track as well as a 2.0 DTS-HD MA track and while I liked both, I have to give the edge to the 5.1 track once again. The track is definitely rather front loaded, and while there is some solid use of the surrounds for ambient noises and some effects, such as the screeching sound made before every one of Rachel’s telekinetic attacks, it stays mainly in the front channels. Dialog is good, but not great as there is some upper distortion in the higher treble ranges (very slight, nowhere near the levels that we heard in “Ghoulies II” and the vocals seem a bit low compared to the rest of the track. The LFE channel actually gets quite a lot of work as it provides a nice simple low end rumble that pretty much never stops the entire movie. It’s not a fantastic track, but it does a very commendable job at using its low budget to get the most out of the audio.
• Audio Commentary with Director David Carson and Cinematographer
The Rage: Carrie 2
• New Audio Commentary
• Original Audio Commentary
• Alternate Ending With "Before and After" Special Effects Sequence
• Additional Scenes Not Seen In Theaters
One of the things that makes me respect SCREAM Factory is the fact that they release titles like these. Titles that really wouldn’t get a lot of attention in the mass market and ones that even the horror genre fanatics aren’t exactly clamoring for. Giving them their own disc with their own special features was just icing on the cake and makes this release feel just a tad special. Neither movie included in the 2 pack is fantastic, but completionists will love having them in their collection. For those who haven’t seen them, I would definitely rent the discs at the very least to give them a try. A very solid release from SCREAM Factory.
Starring: Angela Bettis, Patricia Clarkson, Rena Sofer : Emily Bergl, Jason London, Dylan Bruno
Directed by: David Carson : Katt Shea
Written by: Bryan Fuller : Rafael Moreu
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 AVC/1.85:1 AVC
Audio: ENGLISH: DTS-HD MA 5.1, English DTS-HD MA 2.0 (Both Films)
Studio: Scream Factory
Rated: TV-14 : R
Runtime: 132 minutes : 105 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: April 14th, 2015
Buy Carrie/The Rage: Carrie 2 Blu-ray on Amazon
More about Mike