Horror review: The Rage–Carrie 2

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ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MARCH 18, 1999

Carrie was one of my favourite horror flicks of the ’70s. I was just out of Grade 12 when that high-school tale of telekinetic vengeance came to my hometown, so I could relate somewhat to the actions and motivations of its teenage characters. And director Brian De Palma’s take on Stephen King’s best-selling novel sported plenty of great shocks. I still remember jumping up in my seat when, during the climactic nightmare sequence, the blood-soaked arm of Carrie White (Sissy Spacek) shot up from the grave and latched on to poor Sue Snell (Amy Irving), sending her into convulsions of terror and—according to the new Carrie sequel—a mental institution for several years.

When The Rage: Carrie 2 picks up the story, it’s been two decades since Carrie’s murderous prom-night rampage, and Snell (the returning Irving) now works as a guidance counsellor at the school that was built to replace the one Carrie wrecked. After an insecure student is driven to suicide by a sick sexual-conquest game played by a group of creepy jocks, Snell learns that the dead girl’s friend Rachel (Emily Bergl) also has telekinetic powers fuelled by rage. She tries to teach Rachel how to control her anger, but the Marilyn Manson–loving teen rejects Snell’s good intentions.

Who listens to guidance counsellors anyway?

Now, you wouldn’t expect great things from a sequel that was made 23 years after its celluloid source and features a cast of (mostly) unknowns and a director whose few credits include something called Stripped to Kill. And you won’t get them from Carrie 2. But it’s not the worst movie to try to cash in on the resurgent popularity of teen-oriented terror flicks.

Newcomer Bergl is quite good as the tormented outsider, and her doomed relationship with good-guy jock Jessie (Dazed and Confused’s Jason London) provides some touching moments. And John Doe, former member of L.A. punk rockers X, has a believable turn as Rachel’s abusive foster father. But the best thing about Carrie 2 is the way the cruelties of the cliquish schoolgirls and macho jocks are built up so you’re fairly itching to see them get their eyeballs popped out and their privates harpooned. When Rachel’s rage boils over and the tattooed heart on her arm starts to pump, it’s hard not to cheer on the carnage as she skewers her wicked classmates with shards of flying glass and decapitates them with spinning CDs.

You go, girl!

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