From co-directors Jen and Sylvia Soska, the new horror movie Rabid releases this week in select theaters and On Demand. The movie is a direct remake of the 1977 horror film of the same name by director David Cronenberg, which is widely considered to be ahead of its time with an unforgettable performance by lead actress Marilyn Chambers. The result is a modern take on the story that pays its respects to the original in a big way, though the remake is certainly an enjoyable watch in its own way as well with many deviations to the familiar plot.
As with the original, the new Rabid follows a young woman named Rose whose face is badly disfigured after a horrific motorcycle accident. Desperate to restore her looks, Rose turns to an experimental stem-cell treatment provided by a shady doctor at a nearby clinic. The procedure appears to be a complete success, making Rose appear exactly as she did before her face was mutilated. Unfortunately, the side effects seem to include a newfound hunger for human blood and the creation of a contagious deadly rabies-like virus.
While definitely not a comedy, Rabid feels a bit like a much darker version of Santa Clarita Diet, following Rose’s struggles with her overpowering desire to feed. This leads to her attacking some unlucky souls she manages to get her hands (and other new appendages) on, spreading the virus throughout the city reminiscent of a zombie outbreak. Of course, this means there’s a lot of blood and gnarly imagery you can expect to see in the flick, which only increases as the body count rises and Rose’s body condition continues to worsen. There’s a psychological horror aspect to the story as well, as Rose is unable to ascertain whether these incidents are genuine or if she’s merely hallucinating everything.
Rabid really shines with its cast, and I especially enjoyed Jigsaw star Laura Vandervoort in the lead role of Rose. Her boss in the movie, a fashion designer named Gunter, was also a very memorable and entertaining character, hilariously brought to life by the talented actor Mackenzie Gray (Legion). I was also rather amused to see former Phil Brooks and his wife April Mendez both appearing in a couple of brief but rather comedic roles – wrestling fans may recognize them from their time competing as CM Punk and AJ Lee for many years in World Wrestling Entertainment.
From Shout! Studios, Rabid will be available in select theaters, digitally, and On Demand starting on Dec. 13, 2019. The home video release will follow on Feb. 4, 2020 for those who want the movie on DVD or Blu-ray. While it won’t replace the original Rabid from Cronenberg, horror fans will have a fun time with the Soska Twins’ remake, and I recommend giving it a go this weekend. With its strong cast, grody visuals, and a clear respect and appreciation for the classic horror movie that inspired it, Rabid is a fun watch which many horror fans will love. You can check out the official trailer below, courtesy of Shout! Factory.
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