David Cronenberg will forever have a unique place is genre cinema. The Canadian made his name making intelligent, visceral and challenging horror and science fiction films. More often than not, that took the form of body horror with a political and/or fantasy edge. These included The Fly, Videodrome and Shivers. One of his best films is Rabid. The Soska Sisters have taken the premise of his 1977 chiller and put their own modern spin on proceedings.
Along with her best friend Chelsea (Hanneke Talbot), Rose (Laura Vandervoort) works for an egotistical fashion designer (Mackenzie Gray). Unhappy and unpopular, her world is turned upside down after a motor accident following an argument with a handsome photographer (Benjamin Hollingsworth) at a work’s party. Finding herself severely disfigured, without a job or sufficient insurance cover she decides to volunteer for experimental medical treatment at Dr. Keloid’s (Stephen McHattie) pioneering clinic. There are one of two side effects though…..
Whilst retaining most of the same structure as Cronenberg’s original, Rabid approaches its subject from a slightly different angle. This both works and doesn’t. Using the fashion industry as their template they explore issues around feminism and animal cruelty. However, it has the same issues as the original whilst the ‘contemporisation’ can feel clunky. Having said that, Rabid is still an entertaining and thought-provoking horror which tackles a number if pertinent subjects with lashings of blood.
Rabid screened at Grimmfest. It will be released on Blu-ray and DVD by 101 Films on 7 October.