The Rage: Carrie 2 Reviews
At its simplest, the plot is similar to that of the original. Introverted high school girl discovers her telekinetic powers and avenges her years of torment on her conniving classmates. It is strange though, because the film manages to come across as both too similar plot-wise to the first, and too different. It is tied to the first film in a fairly obtrusive way which sort of makes you wish they would have just began a new story. There are no religious overtones, which were a major component of Stephan Kings story as well as minimal tying in of an abusive home environment. The character of Rachel comes across as far too emotionally tough. The character of Carrie works so well because of the dichotomy between her naive, sheltered innocence and her unbridled power and rage. This new character is far too adult and self-reliant, and just lacks an entire side to her emotions that made Carrie so compelling.
In addition to the main character not being up to snuff, the story in general takes a major downgrade. The womanizing football player angle is overly dramatic, forced and unimaginative. Their reasons for targeting Rachel are paper thin at best, and it all seems spontaneous and superficial. In the original, it was quite clear that Carrie White had suffered through years of abuse at the hands of her tormentors, making it far more emotional when she unleashes years of pent up anger upon them. In this, it never feels like Rachel is an abused outcast. More like she is a counterculture girl who just doesn't fit in with the in-crowd. When she looses it in the end, it just doesn't pack the same punch.
The acting is pretty standard throughout. A couple familiar faces like Amy Irving reprising her role of Sue Snell and Mena Suvari, but its mostly an unknown crew. As I said, pretty mediocre performances all around. No one shines, but no one really drops the ball. I would swear in a court of law that Jason London is actually Ethan Hawke.
The movie from a technical standpoint is also a downgrade. The creepy and brooding score of the original is replaced with gothy rock music which makes it feel more like a scene piece rather than a horror film. The cinematography is bland, and the lighting is too dark. Also, while minimal, the computer effects are pretty sub par.
In all seriousness, the studio should have known better than to try a sequel to such a classic. None the less a classic with such a definitive ending, and to try it 25 years after the fact. It was entertaining enough for me to pay attention and remain involved, but when compared to the original, there is no comparison.
The simple title of The Rage: Carrie 2 feels ridiculous because it seems like without the addition of the name Carrie, it would simply be a film called The Rage and would be judged on the basis of being a standalone film that is simply derivative of Carrie. But since director Katt Shea made such an effort to connect the two by giving this film a ridiculous title, there is no way that viewers can see the film without making such a comparison. Even viewers that have seen it without the original will know it simply as a poor sequel to something they have never seen simply on the basis of the fact that it is referred to as a sequel to Carrie.
With The Rage: Carrie 2, you kind of have to ask yourself what the hell the point is. The film could have been a semi-decent film derivative of Carrie, but the simple fact that it is marketed as a sequel while also using minor plot points to connect the characters is ridiculous. For one thing, the fact that protagonist Rachel Lang is the illegitimate daughter of Ralph White who was also the father of Carrie White. Carrie White was turned into a girl with demonic powers by her father having raped her mother, making her a spawn of evil. So if somehow Ralph White raped another woman and created a second spawn of evil, the only other spawn of evil in the world, then the question of the internal logic is simply ridiculous. Was Ralph White the devil himself? If so, then that is just ridiculous scriptwriting which retcons Stephen King's original story. But I don't think the creators of The Rage: Carrie 2 honestly looked into it that deeply. Somebody had to, and I guess that is my job as the viewer. But it's ridiculous.
The Rage: Carrie 2 desperately attempts to connect the film to the original Carrie by using footage from the original, but as The New York Times commented when Jaws: The Revenge did the same thing "Nothing kills a sequel faster than reverence." It's completely unnecessary and reminds us about how director Katt Shea simply does not believe that her film can actually stand on its own. And if she doesn't have faith in the film, she can't expect viewers to. Admittedly, I found a lot of potential in The Rage: Carrie 2 and I was able to look beyond its familiarity and lack of originality. But the simple fact that Katt Shea had to title the film The Rage: Carrie 2 dooms it from the start by causing it to be always compared to the Academy Award nominated and far superior original Carrie. If it was simply called The Rage, it would have a greater chance of being decent. But unfortunately, that is not the case. One of the few things that the film does right as a sequel is the fact that it gave a role to Amy Irving who actually was willing to return to the role of Sue Snell which she played in the original Carrie. That way, the film is slightly better. Slightly.
As a standalone film, The Rage: Carrie 2 is a rather generic and dull film because it goes back and fourth between elements connecting protagonist Rachel Lange to Carrie White's story as well as the actual trouble going on in her life involving the relationship Rachel has with her love interest Jesse Ryan, and the constant deviations between the two stories becomes annoying. And the story is so focused on being a high school drama that it forgets it is supposed to be a horror film which makes it a slow and somewhat tedious story. And also, the film follows the exact same formula as Carrie but with less horror. It's dramatic most of the time until a horror climax in which Rachel unleashes her fury with telekinetic powers. Because of being a sequel to Carrie, the film follows the exact same formula and makes it all predictable. The thing is that if this film was simply called The Rage, the formula of it wouldn't be too bad and it could succeed as a modern update of Carrie to a certain extent. But since the film just had to be a sequel, it is doomed.
But all in all, The Rage: Carrie 2 is ok at times.
The Rage: Carrie 2 does give a good high school setting to its story because the focus is not solely on the trouble that the protagonist is facing, but rather on the socially acceptable customs which are damaging the lives of many people such as bullying. It reveals the careless attitude of high school teenagers, and covers the complicated theme that comes with statutory rape as well as the careless treatment of women by a lot of sexually aggressive male characters, as well as judgemental females. It deals with characters that still carry on to this day as being valid, so a lot of viewers may find it to be a compelling film which they can relate to.
The visual effects are decent, as are the sound effects. The scenes in which Rachel uses her telekinetic powers are executed very well and although they don't have the same climactic and intense effect as the scenes in the original Carrie due to lack of big scale impact or a strong musical score, they are some entertaining moments. There is a good amount of blood and gore and some versatile deaths in the moment when she exacts vengeance upon everybody which is the most entertaining part of the film. It isn't great, but I would say that it is good from a technical standpoint.
And the character Rachel Lang is decent because she reflects a more contemporary social outcast. She isn't a girl that is mocked for being different, she simply has an introverted nature and keeps to herself. Instead of being tormented by her mother and all the students, she is tormented mostly by her own social awkwardness. And Emily Bergl manages to play the role out well. She is a compelling lead who it isn't difficult to sympathise for, and she captures the appropriate awkward and introverted demeanour for the character. Emily Bergl's only weak moments are when she is supposed to be seriously emotionally intense. Like when she cries out for her mother, she is supposed to be crying but it looks as is she is laughing and attempting to hold it back. But aside from that she gets the character fairly right. She doesn't have much to build on with Rachel Lang, but she manages to find her way around it and does a decent job.
Amy Irving and Jason London also give decent supporting performances, as does Mena Suvari in a brief role.
But despite Emily Bergl's decent lead performance and a good updated context for the story, The Rage: Carrie 2 is a film that is unnecessary as a sequel to Carrie and follows the exact same formula without being surprising much at all, though it is superior to the 2013 Carrie adaptation by far.