Rabid follows a woman who is severely disfigured after a car accident and chooses to undergo an experimental stem cell treatment. When morbid side effects rear their ugly heads, she must try to figure out if it's all in her head or a terrible transformation within her.
Rabid Remake Review
Based on the film of the same name from body horror maestro David Cronenberg, this remake was helmed by the Soska sisters, who are most notably known for their film American Mary. Cronenberg's works are big shoes to fill for anyone, so to take on the daunting task of tackling one of his more well-known pieces outside of his Fly remake is a bit intimidating.
The Soska sisters do handle the remake with enough homage/distancing balance to prove successful in their efforts. The remake poses enough reference to the original yet carves enough modern voice to recreate a fresh take. It doesn't stray as far as the controversial Child's Play remake, but it doesn't play it completely safe either.
I am not a proponent of 1.5 hour runtimes. I like 2+ hour movies, in general. But I've grown accustomed to the speedy process of most low(er)-budget horror movies to sit around the 90-minute mark, to the point that I've come to enjoy the compacted processing of the story. This, plus the 90 minute runtime of the original Rabid, had me surprised at the 1:50 of the remake. I was actually excited to see the expanded take on certain elements of the original, but was left disappointed at the use of extra minutes. There seemed to be plenty of fluff that could've been cut out to make it a little tighter. Efrit admitted to me that when things finally start to amp up (and the certainly do), we've spent a great deal of time getting there.
Frankly, the story itself isn't as important as the body horror mutations as they juxtapose our culture and the characters within this at-times caricatured representation of reality. So perhaps some scenes felt a bit bloated, taking too long for our stem cell experiment's nasty side effects to come to visceral fruition. The "mystery" of the transformations and grisly images being in her head grows old, along with scenes of her crippling inner hunger leading to scenes that sadly don't amount to anything until far into the film.
Yet there is plenty to enjoy. I am a huge fan of body horror, particularly because it is essentially the only untouched sub-genre that has survived the 80s with practical effects used most regularly. And this film, sans a couple of minor scenes, focus heavily on that front. The climax features some great, grotesque fun despite being mashed with some crazy amounts of exposition in a short amount of time.
At its core this film is about its characters, particularly our protagonist Rose, and the rabid infection as it relates to various human conditions, but most often toxic masculinity. And to that end the gruesome fun is enough to appreciate its underlying tones. The fluff may have been a bit much for me, but the overall treatment of this remake was a success. It's still an enjoyable take, it just requires a bit more dedication than may have been absolutely necessary.
Horror Rating System
Horror Qualifier: 8/10 Horror Quality: 5/10 Film Quality: 5/10