New To Blu: Flesh for Fantasy - Rabid (2019) - Reviewed

In 2019, The Soska Sisters returned to their chosen genre with a remake of Cronenberg's classic horror film, Rabid. Now, it's available to watch on blu-ray in the comfort of your own home, vomit bag fully in hand. 

In their updated version of the film, a clothing designer undergoes an advanced cosmetic surgery technique after she's horribly maimed in an accident. The results of her condition set about a horrific set of circumstances that sees both the best and worst from the directorial twins. Per usual, attempting to recreate a respected classic is a hard thing to do. But the sisters are mostly up to the challenge despite some major difficulties in modernizing the original 1977 title. While they do their damnedest to leave their specific mark on Rabid, the lack of budget and some poor editing end up making this a less than stellar retread. 

The gore effects and visuals are spectacular and definitely set this apart from most lower funded feature films. The makeup use on Vandervoort's character is spectacular and the tentacled scenery definitely ups the ante on the current trend of Lovecraftian elements. Yet, all the work they've done is faltered by bad set design, terrible lighting, and some of the same acting choices that have harmed their other feature films. It's easy to just pick a movie apart because it's a remake. But that's really not the main issue here. It just seems like a lot of love was given to some aspects while others don't really receive the same amount of care. 

The Soskas hit the scene years ago with their own brand of horror. In 2012 they offered a body modification indie genre hit with American Mary. Since then they've worked on a bevy of short films, done some television work and directed two full length features, one of which was a sequel to See No Evil. Their production of Rabid sees them return to their roots of body morphing insanity that really pushes the envelope. Watching Laura Vandervoort's beautiful face transformed to a mangled mess is something to behold. You can really feel the Soska's influences on this movie too. 

This is a hard one to define. Fans of horror will definitely fall in love with the modernized spin on the Rabid story.  But when you're going up against a maestro like Cronenberg, it's never going to hit those same high marks. This one is truly a mixed bag of really good and painfully bad. It never delivers on several of the themes that they guide us into and the last act seems to fall apart just as it's hitting a stride. As a recommendation, go into this one with expectations tempered. You might come out with a better feeling than I did. I've loved everything they've done up until now. But Rabid feels much like a retread of American Mary in many ways. 

-Chris George