If you go down to the woods today you’re in for a big surprise...
The pretty girls and boys visiting this secluded woodland could never have imagined the madness they were in store for and neither will you as Rabies violently breaks all the conventions of the slasher genre whilst simultaneously executing all the most successful scare techniques from every critically revered horror film of the last century.
This masterfully created Israeli film positively revels in misdirection. Opening like a torture porn with a young pretty girl trapped within a metal cage before suddenly the rug is pulled from under our feet and we find ourselves thrust into the middle of physiologically tense thriller, hunting down a psychopath who’s been setting traps throughout the forest, whilst the less than helpful appearance of police does little but add more fuel to the contagious fire of un-mitigating madness which appears to be in the air.
So fast does the pendulum of horror swing from style to style that we never have time to acclimatise ourselves, resulting in a heart pounding level of confusion and fear which subtly edges towards a degree of perverse excitement which should surely be illegal. Indeed, this assured mixture of well executed genre conventions with some unique scare techniques that are so perfectly timed you could set your watch by them, all culminates in a film which never gives you a moment to catch your breath and is all the more enjoyable for it.
With a unique amalgamation of varying filming styles Rabies use of unconventional bright colors and subtle twists of comedy helps prevent the uncomfortably framed close ups and audacious use of gratuitous violence feel to claustrophobic. It transfers you into a bizarrely comatose state of being, completely transfixed and unable to turn away, despite the natural desire to so the moment you realise that mallet isn’t going to be used for the purpose it was intended for.
The films lack of any discernable plot and absence of a conceivable explanation as to why all those who enter this seemingly pleasant woodland end up committing the most malevolent acts of utter madness never distracts from the overall enjoyment of what has to be one of the most strangely unapologetic pieces of ultra violence since Clockwork Orange. This nihilistic, gutsy film’s combination of rich ideas and a cultivated ability to deliver all the scares you desire from a good piece of suspenseful gore is an unconventionally infectious example of how thriving the film industry of Israel is becoming.
In conclusion, Rabies is an unashamedly pleasurable and illuminatingly visceral delight set amidst a backdrop of black humour and dark subject matter that demands to be seen by anyone with even the mildest enjoyment of a good scare.