“CARRIE” (2002) / “THE RAGE: CARRIE 2” (Blu-ray Review)Movies/TV,News,Reviews Ken W. Hanley
There’s no doubting that Brian De Palma’s CARRIE, the 1976 inaugural adaptation of Stephen King, is a classic of the horror genre. It’s classy, unsettling and genuinely scary, compounded with De Palma’s stylish vision and King’s distinct narrative voice. Yet in the years since, the various attempts to remake and recapture that eerie essence has proven difficult, and there’s no better example of that than the CARRIE TV-remake as well as Katt Shea’s THE RAGE: CARRIE 2. And with Scream Factory’s double feature Blu-ray, CARRIE completists can finally have these misbegotten fright flicks in high definition.
As a fan of a good 95% of all Scream Factory releases, I’m often forgiving for the companies’ misfires, as their mission statement as a brand helps bring many other cult classics and obscure flicks to audiences in a definitive home media release. Furthermore, I’m sure that there are many who are able to appreciate CARRIE (2002) and THE RAGE for their own merits, which is absolutely commendable and respectable. But to be completely candid, CARRIE (2002) and THE RAGE are rather forgettable entries in the Scream Factory canon, and for good reason: they’re not particularly engaging.
Does that mean they’re necessarily terrible, per se? No, but they’re also not great, and in the case of THE RAGE, they’re also sort of desperately inept to be relevant. Each film has their high points, with CARRIE (2002) sporting a solid cast while THE RAGE has a sense of passion behind it, perhaps limited by the cinematic trends and zeitgeist of the time. In fact, Angela Bettis is incredibly spectacular in CARRIE (2002), once again reminding horror fans why she’s such a treasured genre performer; she might even give Sissy Spacek a run for her money in her depiction of Carrie White. But the scripts (with the former written by noted HANNIBAL mastermind Bryan Fuller) are too slow and derivative of the original novel and film to really make an impact, or are frightfully generic in the case of THE RAGE, which aims to capitalize on the “angry youth” culture that brought that subculture to such heights in the late ’90s.
Of course, on the Scream Factory side of things, the company has given this release the best audio and visual treatment possible. In the case of CARRIE (2002), Scream Factory offers the best possible video and audio considering the TV-grade production values which includes cloudy shot-on-video cinematography and occasionally echo-friendly natural sound. Scream offers a much better transfer on THE RAGE, taking advantage of the 35mm look and professionally mixed sound that look and sound great on Blu-ray.
Meanwhile, Scream Factory has also provided a some top strong features to the set, especially on the side of THE RAGE: CARRIE 2. For CARRIE (2002), however, Scream offers a new audio commentary with director David Carson, which is informative and goes down the line of both a technical commentary as well as how they approached the material differently than the original, as well as a standard trailer. THE RAGE: CARRIE 2, however, gets a much larger array of features, including an excellent new commentary with Katt Shea, an interesting alternate ending (complete with a before-and-after SFX sequence), deleted scenes and the theatrical trailer.
While both films are not this writer’s cup of tea, especially positing in the shadow of the original CARRIE, fans of THE RAGE or CARRIE (2002) will likely never get a better release than the one provided by Scream Factory. Collectors will be able to appreciate the new commentaries as well as the features on THE RAGE, while CARRIE (2002) features the likes of Katharine Isabelle, Emilie de Ravin and Jodelle Ferland in early roles, as well as strong performances by David Keith, Patricia Clarkson and the aforementioned Bettis. It may not be a pair of great films, but Scream’s release is certainly going to appeal to horror fans better than a disposable barebones release.