The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California on March 12, 1999 · Page 48
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The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California · Page 48

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Friday, March 12, 1999
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D8 FRIDAY, MARCH 12, 1999 MOVIES )vS 'V l Emily Bergl plays a student with telekinetic powers in "The Rage: Carrie 2 iWell-Directed Sequel ;to 'Carrie' Rages Against High School Machismo I : Review BY KEVIN THOMAS TIMES STAFF WRITUR w; 'hat makes "The Rage: ' Carrie 2" much more than just a sequel to the 1976 Stephen King-Brian De Palma horror classic is the astute direction of Katt Shea, a master of genre, from Rafael Moreu's intelligent script. It's all a matter of emphasis and tone, and what rightly interests Shea and Moreu more than the ' supernatural elements is how key : members of a small-town high sbhool football team have formed a competition to see who can seduce the most girls, rating each victim according to a point system, and then dropping them immedi-ately. (It may be that the filmmak-; ers took their inspiration from an ; actual incident that occurred in ; Lakewood several years ago.) Many of the girls comply, believing that it will be their entry into the school's golden social circle, only ; to be brutally dismissed as losers. One girl, Lisa (Mena Suvari), takes her cruel rejection so hard . she jumps to her death from the high school roof. As it happens, she is the only friend of Rachel Lang (Emily Bergl), who's the school pariah because she's openly smart and doesn't conform. Worse still for her, Rachel has a mother (J. Smith-Cameron) in a mental institution and poor blue-collar foster parents. Just as she begins to go after her friend's seducer, the cloddish Eric , (Zachery Ty Bryan), she begins connecting with Jesse Ryan (Jason ; London), one of the most popular ; boys in school, a football star whose intelligence matches hers. ' Even though he is as much an insider as she is an outsider, he is ' capable of thinking for himself. As t smart as she is, Rachel does not I comprehend the treacherous situation in which she is entering: h Her flowering relationship with Ja son, which forces his set to accept her, poses a twofold threat. On the one hand, she has incurred the '. jealous wrath of his longtime girl-; friend, a bosomy cheerleader I (Charlotte Ayanna); on the other, ; she does not realize that she is on the verge of discovering the seduc-i tion ring in her effort to make sure ' that Eric takes responsibility for ', Lisa's suicide. She is also vulner- 1 1 able to the distracting illusion of social acceptance. Meanwhile, Amy Irving's Sue Snell, the only survivor of the original "Carrie's" carnage, has become the high school's counselor, and she understandably becomes alarmed when she begins to ' detect that Rachel is developing ' telekinetic powers she doesn't ; know she possesses. Sue knows ; full well that history could repeat ; itself if Rachel doesn't get profes- sional help to learn how to control it. Rachel, of course, is getting into - precisely the kind of predicament , that has the potential to provoke ' her wrath, which, in turn, could t telekinetically unleash a catastro- , You have the feeling that Shea ; accepts the telekinetic gimmick as ; an obligatory plot device and she cleverly plays against it, concen- trating on the mindless cruelty of a LOS ANGELES TIMES bunch of jocks who would cause girls such pain simply as an affirmation of their masculinity and popularity. In doing so, she makes the point that real horror lies in human behavior more than in the forces of the supernatural. Rachel, moreover, is not the helpless creature that Sissy Spacek's pre-prom Carrie was, and Shea is more interested in expos ing the excesses of machismo and the young women who go along with it than in inciting us to root for a telekinetic revenge. Yet when the moment of truth ar rives, Shea handles it with the pa nache that you would expect from a Roger Corman alum. Indeed, Shea's ability to play various elements in Moreu's adroit script against one another gives "The Rage" a welcome complexity and tension. Bergl emerges as yet another lovely and talented young actress of exceptional presence and range who can command the screen with ease; remember, it was Shea who consolidated Drew Bar- rymore's move from child actress to blossoming movie star with her wickedly funny "Poison Ivy.' Bergl is well-matched by London, and a fine supporting cast is anchored by Dylan Bruno, whose brawny good looks nicely set off the self- aware evil of his character. Instead of the bravura Grand Guienol and bristling wit of "Carrie," an outrageous baroque triumph, "The Rage" dares to take a different tack, taking its young people seriously in a more realistic context. If ever there was a director ready to graduate, from genre films, it surely is Shea. MPAA rating: R, for strong graphic horror violence and gore, brief strong sexuality and lan guage. Times guidelines: The film in all its elements is too strong for children, even if accompanied by an adult. "The Rage: Carrie 2' Emily Bergl Rachel Lang Jason London lesse Ryan Amy Irving Sue Snell Dylan Bruno Mark J. Smith Cameron ..... Barbara Lang A Uniled Artists Pictures presentation of a Red Bank Films production. Director Katt Shea. Producer Paul Monash. Executive pro ducer Patrick Palmer. Screenplay by Rafael Moreu. Cinematographer Donald M. Mor gan. Editor Richard Nord. Music Danny B. Harvey. Costumes Theoni V. Aldredge. Pro duction designer Peter Jamison. Art director Geoffrey S. Grimsman. Set decorator Linda Spheeris. Running Ume: 1 hour, 45 minutes. In general release. 'ACADEMY AWARD" NOMINEE "One of the year's genuine crowd pleasers." -Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune children of heaven Now Playing In Select Cities! ( Academy Aword Nominee Best Foreign language Film ) Watch the Academy Award Sunday, March 21st NA 11 liSS I II II 11 111 I jT I I - J, IV I 19 1 II I XI II I I . !' I II f 1 I A II I 111 II II II II I if i I a i ii ii ii i i i i Mil I II II W 11 II I I I I .1 V II lit mm . m m a m II : -- 'I - - V I I iW 11 ' I I? f I ii i iin on ! u i t nit i It! U Vl ii v v u mi ileum iiv-ivjmZm II II - . X . ; II V ii tun ur n T WnTnun n r i nn n nnn I IK 11.1 I iiiiih mil y i i mim iwuinn ii w i ii i :-;! mm JlSiil! wm ll li . ... 8?ti.. is .:nirtTAi ' .D.. . -' II li lPCi3'EiiTssTlmli6tt.i;ffliS1EJ33"fDafe I'Sv iTCTClMraH I SatW watttiy way tit mppf uprja w mi;crn umbj .-; r.r..ti t '"-l?"5 ' in is' f . 1 W ' ' jf IBS jr H ; I II r rrw a r-n ra I II I VXJVV B Itaj lllg HI 1 IIVHVI W UJW VI J 1HHVI 1 J p " V M A " i 1 ( rpn Y ml J(0 A i I v ' '-II 1 I sv. . Ml k 1 ! 1 -fem M: 7. 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