Carrie is a horror classic and a standout from the 1970’s, one of the genre’s best decades. No one was asking for a sequel, especially over 20 years later. With no Stephen King, no Brian De Palma, The Rage: Carrie 2 flopped. Critics hated it, audiences ignored it. But after 20 years since its release, has The Rage: Carrie 2 earned a critical re-evaluation?
The Rage: Carrie 2 is a Case Study in Pointlessness
The Rage: Carrie 2 was released a few years before the remake craze. No one was debating whether a movie was a ‘remake’, ‘reboot’, or ‘soft reboot’. Screenwriter Rafael Moreu includes some references to the original movie and a light retcon. In addition, Amy Irving reprises her role as Sue Snell to add continuity. But by and large, The Rage: Carrie 2 feels more like a soft reboot. In fact, Moreau’s story plays like a highlight reel of Carrie updated for a ‘90’s audience.
We even get a very forced mother-daughter conflict to ensure the sequel is completely derivative.
Emily Bergl’s ‘Rachel Lang’ is a social outcast because … she’s poor. Like in the original Carrie, Rachel runs afoul of the ‘cool kids’ prompting an elaborate hoax designed to humiliate her. There’s a sympathetic ‘insider’ who sees her true inner beauty and a caring adult figure, but it’s all too late. As expected, everything culminates in Rachel’s telekinetic-infused vengeance. We even get a very forced mother-daughter conflict to ensure the sequel is completely derivative. Somewhere buried in this rehash is an almost prescient #MeToo subplot about football players and an exploitative sex game. Just don’t expect anything profound to emerge out of this story direction.
The Rage Downgrades on Everything
Everything about The Rage: Carrie 2 is a downgrade. We get Katt Shea as director in place of Brian De Palma. Emily Bergl subs for Sissy Spacek, while J Smith-Cameron fills in for Piper Laurie in the ‘mother’ Role. How bad is the downgrade? We get one of the kids from Home Improvement in place of John Travolta. If Carrie was in part defined by its mesmerizing performances, The Rage is shackled by underwhelming turns across the board. It’s cardboard characters with stiff performers delivering stilted dialogue. Remember the brief ‘90’s obsession with Jason London? That’s how bad things get.
Perhaps what’s most unforgivable about The Rage: Carrie 2 is its generic and, at time, odd visual style. No one expected a filmmaker to replicate De Palma’s signature style. But The Rage is a limp sequel in most regards. Its biggest problem is when it attempts to directly imitate moments from Carrie. Though imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, these scenes only serve to remind the audience how lacking the sequel is by comparison.
…everything about the climax pales in comparison to the original.
Shea inexplicably uses ‘black and white’ photography early in the movie whenever Rachel uses her powers. It’s an odd gimmick that’s thankfully discarded for the finale. And for some strange reason, Rachel’s rose tattoo extends during her climatic confrontation, covering her body with inked thorns. Why? Who cares. With all the bad CGI telekinetic gore, you won’t give it much thought. Horror fans who came of age in the 90’s may enjoy Rachel’s vengeance. But everything about this climax pales in comparison to the original. Moreover, The Rage’s climax begs the question – how can the visual effects be worse than a movie that’s over 20 years older?
The Rage: Carrie 2 Belongs In Dollar Store Discount Bins
They say time heals all wounds. Unfortunately, in the 20 years since its release, The Rage: Carrie 2 is still a pointless sequel. If you’re a ‘90’s horror fan, nostalgia may have carved out a soft spot in your heart for this movie. But everyone else will likely find it to be boring and insufferable. Years later, Hollywood would try to resurrect Carrie again with an okay remake. But maybe we should let Carrie White ‘rest in peace’ until King himself pens a worthy follow up.