Updated: Nov 25, 2019
Directed By: Jen & Sylvia Soska. Written By: John Serge, Jen & Sylvia Soska. Starring: Laura Vandervoort, Stephen Huszar, Hanneke Talbot.
I have stated in previous reviews that I am not a fan of remakes. This is the second review I have done for this site where I find myself eating those words. If you're going to tackle a remake of a David Cronenberg movie you need a big set of ball's and you need to do it justice. Those big ball's, in this case, belong to none other than the Soska Sisters, aka The Twisted Twins, and they understand this more than anyone. At one point in the movie a character spouts some cheeky line of dialogue about people remaking classics instead of coming up with something new. The dialogue in question is referring to fashion but it's obvious that the Soska's had their tongues firmly in their collective cheeks.
Rabid tells the story of Rose (Laura Vandervoort - Jigsaw, Smallville), a fashion designer and Vegetarian (yes thats important), who suffers a horrific accident while riding her Scooter. Rose awakens in a Hospital bed, her face wrapped in bandages. Her Doctor, who's bedside manner is the worst, encourages Rose to remove the bandages only for her to become horrified by the disfigurement she has suffered. Seriously, this Doctor should be struck off. He's a complete dick.
Rose returns home and resigns herself to a life of eating through a straw and only being able to leave the house at Halloween. Very quickly she stumbles across an experimental plastic surgery procedure that could be the answer to all her prayers and signs herself up. Rose goes to meet with the pioneer of said procedure, Dr William Burroughs, (that's not slipping past anyone who's ever dabbled in LSD or read The Naked Lunch). Sure enough, Rose undergoes the procedure (which includes a visual nod to another Cronenberg film, Dead Ringers), and hurrah, is beautiful again.
When something seems too good to be true it usually is and Rose begins to notice a hunger that, no matter how hard she tries, she just can't satisfy. Turns out that Veggie Rose is yearning for a little Blood in her diet. As a vegetarian myself, I totally sympathise.
As the plot races along, Rose finds that not only has her eating habits changed, but her self confidence and sexual appetites have also changed. After a series of sexual encounters, Rose unwittingly passes on the STD from Hell. For those who have been infected turn in to cannibalistic, crazed, Zombie-like Lunatics, not far removed from the rage infected madballs from Danny Boyles 28 Days Later.
From here on in the gore is ramped up as people who encounter the infected become the main dish on a fleshy menu. I don't want to go in to too much detail regarding the ending. It's bizarre and gooey and very different to the original. It turns out that Dr Burroughs has a sinister agenda and Rose has been nothing more than a Guinea Pig.
As I mentioned earlier, it's a bold move, remaking Cronenberg. He is, to many horror devotees, such as myself, a God of the genre. He is also responsible for one of the greatest horror remakes of all time, 1986's The Fly. The Soska Sister's approach their version with much gusto and respect for the original, and while it honours it's 1977 source material, it's very much it's own movie. Laura Vandervoort gives good Marilyn Chambers as the films lead, giving a strong performance as someone who's life goes from one level of shit to another.
I'm always interested to see anything that the Soska Sisters release. American Mary is a modern classic and one of my personal favourites. Rabid doesn't knock Mary off the top spot as their best film but it's a thoroughly enjoyable watch, none the less. The Twisted Twins wear their love of horror on their sleeve and deliver some truely gruesome imagery. American Mary dealt with body horror that was clearly influenced by the works of Cronenberg so remaking one of his classics seems a logical next step.
I look forward to seeing what the Sisters do next and if they end up, by some wonderful chance, reading this review, please make another film with Kathrine Isabelle. Please....
Get your hands on the Blu-Ray here:
UK readers can find it here: