In RABIES, a group of teenage Tennis players on their way to a tournament, get sidetracked when they accidentally hit a man with their car. Bleeding and exhausted, the man explains to them that his sister has fell in a hole set up by a psychopathic killer in the woods. The two guys agree to go into the woods to go and look for her, while the two females stay behind in order to call the police. From this moment, things get a little strange, as when the men search the woods, the sister is now gone from the place the killer had left her, meanwhile the Police arrive, and they prove to be up to no good. The officers, one in particular turn out to be perverts, as they grope, and have their way with the ladies. In other segments, we follow a Forrest ranger who just so happens to have taken the missing sister to safety. Eventually, all parties; the guys, the ladies(after the confrontation with the cops), the ranger, the sister, and also the officers soon cross paths with violence, as things such as jealousy and mistaken identity sets off a brutal chain of murder.
RABIES, a Hebrew film makes its US DVD debut being marketed as "Israel's first Slasher film." While, I haven't seen many films by way of Israel, I can't be sure of this claim, but I think it would be safe to take their word for it. If it is indeed "Israel's first Slasher film", then I must say that it is a film that isn't as bad I expected it to be, actually, the idea behind it all is pretty original, dare I say it. These days, the words "original" and "Slasher film" are rarely seen together, as most new Slashers are copycats, or better yet remakes of older Slashers. With that said however, Although it presents an original concept, RABIES is far from being considered a "perfect film".
The film starts off on a very generic note, one that we're all familiar with, and that is the idea of unsuspecting teems unknowingly taking a wrong turn, Here, the Tennis players do just that before hitting a bloodied man(again not new) It is not until the man asks two of the men to help him find his kidnapped sister deep within the wood, that the film's original ideas come into play on screen. As the men ascend into the woods, lots of conversing commences, and soon the topic of one of the men secretly dating one of the tennis girls, the one which the other one likes. This of course sets off a violent reaction from the man, resulting of him killing his friend in cold blood. Elsewhere, the two females, who were left behind to phone the cops, finally get the better of them as they fight back, ending in quite the bloody mess. At this point, we the audience become aware of the object of this film, which is that all of the film's characters eventually go into a "rabid" state if you will. Lets get one thing straight about the film however, although the film is called RABIES(or KALEVET in Hebrew), this film has nothing to do with the disease. So in other words, no one contracts rabies, the film's title is just symbolic for the type of behavior inherited by the characters over time. The concept in itself is a pretty good one, but the film's biggest flaw comes by way of its execution overall. The film has a lot of characters and stories that it attempts to tell, 9 to be exact, but there is one problem, it is just 93 minutes in length. So here we have a little film that tries to cram so much information in so little time, and it also doesn't help the cause that the plot has its draggy moments. The film's more gory scenes tend to deliver, but it is the scenes that are in between that happen to slow the pacing down a little. In these scenes there is a lot of talky dialogue, dialogue that tries to spell out the stories of each and every character, and so since it tries to rush things, the script itself, after awhile begins to feel uneven. The end result is something that is decent, but in my opinion, it could've been better. Maybe the film's flaws can be attributed to rookie mistakes?
When I took note that RABIES was a film from Israel as I requested the film for review, I was expecting a low budget film that featured lacking image quality, acting and effects. This is of course because I have reviewed film's from say Pakistan, among other countries, where this was true about the films. However, in the case of RABIES, it was not the case. The film itself looks really good, the picture's color is bright and well balanced, the acting isn't half bad, and the special effects are actually fairly realistic, as they are the true highlight of the film.
Overall, RABIES is a film that is much better than I expected it to be, and it also brings aboard its own ideas. As I said however, it is far from perfect, as I feel it just has far to many back stories and characters than it can logically maintain. For instance, some characters have more time spent on them than others, and etc. But with all of this said, RABIES isn't all that bad.
IMPRESSION OF THE FILM
RABIES came to me as just another unknown film, in fact, I was on the verge of just scraping this one for review. To be honest, i'm not a big fan of foreign movies, I even hate reading subtitles. So most of the time, I skip the foreign imports if I can, that id unless they look to be of certain interest to me. But to tell the truth, i'm kind of glad that I decided to take the look at RABIES. It isn't a complete Slasher flick as it is uneven and drags out at times, but for what it is, it is a fairly decent effort. It is worth the time to check it out. Would I watch it again anytime soon, probably not, but it is worth a view at least!
NOTE : The film is presented entirely in its original Hebrew language track with optional English subtitles