Rabid (2019)

rabid poster 2019 movie
5.5 Overall Score
Story: 5/10
Acting: 5/10
Visuals: 6/10

Concepts and ideas are ripe for a remake

Never fully seems to develop

Movie Info

Movie Name: Rabid

Studio: Back 40 Pictures

Genre(s): Horror

Release Date(s):  August 26, 2019 (FrightFest)/December 13, 2019 (US)

MPAA Rating: Not Rated

rabid laura vandervoort accident

Well, Rose…Supergirl you are not

Mousy Rose Miller (Laura Vandervoot) works for a big high-end fashion designer named Gunter (Mackenzie Gray). When a tragic accident mangles Rose, she and her foster sister Chelsea (Hanneke Talbot) find a doctor named William Burroughs (Ted Atherton) who says his experimental skin grafting treatment can help. Now, Rose looks even better than before but the once vegetarian finds herself craving meat and hyper-sexualized. Something is happening to Rose and it is spreading…and the hunger can’t be stopped.

Directed by Jen and Sylvia Soska, Rabid is a body horror movie. The film is a remake of David Cronenberg’s 1977 film and premiered at the London FrightFest Film Festival. It received average reviews.

I had seen the original Rabid a few times and didn’t even know there was a new Rabid until almost a year after its release. I finally got Rabid to watch during the COVID-19 outbreak, and it did manage to enhance a bit of dull film. Due to plot aspects, a ******spoiler alert****** is in effect for the rest of the review.

rabid infected person

Can I just get a little penicillin?

Rabid originally was conceived as essential a story of venereal disease combined with a zombie picture like Cronenberg’s previous film Shivers. It cast porn actress Marilyn Chambers and really dove into the dirty feeling nature of the story. Here it is more of an unleashed innocent storyline with Rose being essentially liberated by the virus. The story dives into pandemic life (and ironically echoes some of COVID-19 misnomers…aka it’s just a cold), but it never seems to fully grasp either the pandemic or the virus’s individual effect on Rose…it feels underdeveloped.

Part of the problem is Laura Vandervoot is too nice. There isn’t an edge to her even when she is being consumed by the lust driven virus. The movie works a lot like Catwoman in Batman Returns or the much maligned Halle Berry Catwoman…it is supposed to bring out sexuality and deep lustiness. Unfortunately Vandervoot never gets to the level of Pfeiffer or even Berry in her sexual freedom and is surrounded by so-so costars.

rabid wife ending

You think his wife looks good, you should see their kids

The movie does go for horrific in the appearance of Rose when she is mangled. The original Rabid didn’t spend much time on the process and set the character going, but Vandervoot is pretty monstrous in her post-accident look. The cancerous grafts that she receives are pretty ridiculous when they are activated (they become snakelike arms out of her body), but even in the original the armpit “bite” was pretty dumb looking. There is a fun homage to Cronenberg in the hospital scene which has scrubs resembling the iconic look of Cronenberg’s Dead Ringer hospital scene.

Rabid is a bit of an odd movie in that by the end of the film, you essentially get the villain winning. The outbreak is stopped, but Rose is a prisoner of the doctor who (unlike most horror movies) never gets his comeuppance. It is kind of a sad and sorry ending for the movie because you are supposed to like and pity Rose. Instead of finding solace in death or a cure, the character is left in limbo…and stuck in an average horror movie that doesn’t live up the original.

Related Links:

Rabid (1977)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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