Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Rage (2010)

(Screener Copy)

Directed by Christopher R. Witherspoon

Written by Christopher R. Witherspoon

Stars: Rick Crawford, Audrey Walker, Jo-Black Jacob, M.L. Maltz, Anna Lodej, Chris Witherspoon

Writer/Director Christopher R. Witherspoon was good enough to let me check out his indie horror-thriller Rage and its an opportunity I am glad I got as the film is well made, well acted and suspense filled. And thats all before the blood soaked and devastating finale!

Rage features a disillusioned man named Dennis Twist (Rick Crawford) involved in an affair with a younger woman. The guilt caused by Dennis’ indiscretions is starting to eat away at him though and he finally makes the wise decision to end things for the sake of his marriage to Crystal (Audrey Walker). Sadly for Dennis, he chose the wrong day to head out for a final meeting with his mistress, as a run in with a sinister motorcyclist begins a VERY bad day for him and eventually those around him.

Chris does a great job in building up the suspense in Rage. The stalking and attacks by the motorclylist start off rather minor before buliidng in intensity, steadily turning Dennis into a terrified wreck of a man. This is a far cry from the rather cocky guy with a huge chip on his shoulder that we saw early on in the film. With the days events having well and truly taken their toll, Dennis returns home to Crystal where it turns out his nightmare is now truly beginning. From here on its home invasion horror all the way and others will unfortunately pay the price for Dennis mistakes. On this note, the finale includes some upsetting scenes – particularly those involving Ricks wife who is the ultimate victim in the film – both at the hands of the killer and her husband. There is also a very violent attack on Dennis and Audrey’s elderly neighbours which serve to give the film a bit of a body count – If only the nosy husband had just stayed home with his wife!! I felt that the film effectively changed it up from stalker thriller to gory slasher and by this point I was eager for the pair to fight back and get the upper hand against the maniac who had descended upon their lives. The garage climax is also very satisfactory and while the reveal of why the motorcyclist has been after Dennis all along could have easily came across as a joke or a bit silly, it was actually a quite chilling. The movie’s title subsequently becomes ever more relevant with this outcome.

Rick Crawford and Audrey Walker are brilliant in the film. Both were required to perform gritty roles where they have gone from an ordinary situation into an inconceivable nightmare and this is impressively portrayed by both. A scene where something unimaginable has occurred stands out as both characters look absolutely defeated and past the point of trying. This only serves to give their final fight back all the more punch. You never see the face behind the motorcycle helmet (acted by Christopher himself!) but I really don't think you  need to, the menace is very much there and actually elevated by his hidden identity.

The film is also impressively shot with perfect sound and picture - it could easily find its way into theatres as the standard is so high. It's rare to find that in a low budget film but it can be done and it's very apparent in Rage. The chase scenes were also really well presented and the comparisons with Duel are well deserved, although I still feel Rage is original in its own right.

All in all Rage is a really great watch and something a little bit new for the indie horror scene. I hope to hear some good news soon regarding worldwide distribution as the film thoroughly deserves to be seen by a wider audience.

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