A barking mad scientist in a remote lab is trying to “give capitalist society what it deserves.” And no that doesn’t mean a ‘thank you’ for raising living standards and life expectancy the world over, but instead, subjecting it to a plague: The Rage mutation.
One of his unwitting patients is given the green, Re-Animator-like goo which has unpleasant “bleed from every orifice” side-effects (worse than the 5-point font big-pharma ads you see on afternoon TV…on second thought…capitalism is good — with caveats).
The side effects include abnormal bone growth, increased salivation and finally, excessive bleeding and blood lust.
The doc’s patient, now a full-on zombie who slightly resembles Bub from Day of the Dead, is going to make the crazed Russian researcher famous, and the bug will wreak havoc over the whole entire world (or, weirdly, only Cleveland and Chicago according to the map cutaway). Hey, that’s a Midwest head-start.
However, the freak breaks his chains and butchers the doctor on his own gurney. And the virus is loose.
Our protagonists are a bunch of unremarkable plague-bait college coed types in a Winnebago, drugged out and attending a goth metal show sleepover camp-out in the woods.
When the zombie breaks free from the lab, it first brutally feeds on a local fisherman Uncle Ben (Reggie Bannister, who calls back Phantasm via a terrific Xbox game reference) and his niece. Eventually, the zombies become vulture food and the virus mutates the birds so they become predatory instead of scavenger.
This does not bode well for the young people, who have to get the hell out of there as fast as their RV can take them. But of course, not nearly fast enough as the birds converge.
The Rage is one gory film.
Some terrifically bloody set pieces include a vulture getting it through the crown via kitchen knife and the tragi-comic fate of boyfriend/driver Jay.
Director Robert Kurtzman did makeup for Evil Dead II, Intruder, Dr. Giggles, etc., supervised visual effects for The Devil’s Rejects and Hostel, and brings some dynamite bloodletting to this one.
The underwhelming performances and stock lines (“Why are you doing this to me?” “Why is this happening?” etc.) don’t detract from the zaniness and the pure carrion carnage.
***1/2 (out of 5)