The Rage: Carrie 2 - 1/2*

Most horror films are hesitant to trumpet their lack of originality. That’s not the case with The Rage: Carrie 2, which displays its copycat plot proudly. It has to…there’s not much else which connects this film with the original Carrie. It’s certainly nowhere near the dubious quality of Brian DePalma’s mid-70s teen horror film. Heck, even Stephen King’s name is no longer associated with this project (which should tell you quite a lot).

The Rage can call itself a sequel to Carrie by the thinnest thread. Sue Snell (Amy Irving), one of the tormenting teens of the original, is the only returning character. She has grown up into a school guidance counselor, determined to prevent the type of telekenetic violence she instigated twenty years earlier.

Emily Bergl stars as Rachel Lang, the teen you don’t want to mess with in this sequel. Unlike the original Carrie, Rachel isn’t a complete outcast. She’s bonded with another white trash goth girl named Lisa (Mena Suvari), who also has low self-esteem. However, both girls are about to run afoul of the “popular” crowd.

It seems that the local jocks have a game they’ve been playing: to deflower and dump as many pathetic girls as possible. Lisa’s reaction as a victim of this cruel game is predictable, but it really only serves as a plot device to further isolate Rachel.

When sensitive jock Jesse (Jason London) befriends Rachel, are his feelings true? Or is he merely luring her into a cunning trap which will unleash her psychic fury to kill?!? (Seeing as this is a “Carrie” movie, which do you think?)

In a strained attempt to link itself to the earlier film, The Rage contains several “flashbacks” to the original Carrie (most of which are quite a stretch). It even goes so far as to replay the original’s “They’re all going to laugh at you” line over and over again on the soundtrack. The effect seems more pathetic than frightening. It’s as if the new film realizes it has failed to create anything even mildly creepy, and must dredge up the memories of the past in an attempt to shock.

The film is almost robotic in its mimicry of the original Carrie. At least the first film had originality on its side. With The Rage: Carrie 2, every step of the plot is irritatingly obvious, even to those who never saw the first film. You would at least think that, with such a detailed blueprint, the film would move along at a decent pace. Wrong again. The film is painfully sluggish in creeping towards its inevitable conclusion.

But, of course, the characters are completely oblivious of the utter predictability of their situation. No one even pays the slightest heed when windshields shatter without cause, and the school lockers have the darndest habit of exploding open at random times. These things would raise flags even in a town which hasn’t had an entire senior class slaughtered by telekinetic violence. The filmmakers behind The Rage: Carrie 2 must be as oblivious as these students!

Certainly as an audience member, you wish you had their amazing powers of ignorance, both during and after the movie. As a horror film, The Rage: Carrie 2 is more likely to elicit groans than shrieks.

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