There are certain things in the horror genre that filmmakers should learn to shy away from.  Generic and bland titles is one thing, because if you go to any video store that does trade-ins, you’ll see a mountain of films with similar or the same titles and their $2.99 price tag.  Needless to say when I saw I was going to be watching a film entitled Rage I immediately thought about The Rage: Carrie 2, but quickly tried to quell any comparison away and go in watching this movie blind.

The film’s story revolves around an interesting idea: What happens when a driver takes their road rage one step too far? (That’s why it’s called Rage, get it?) But you won’t be able to comprehend fully what the story is until about 30 minutes in and, mind you, the movie is only 80 minutes long. There were a few things I noticed while watching the first act: I had no idea what the names were for any of the characters (they were mentioned but I quickly forgot them), I had no idea what the story was, and I was wondering why I was reviewing this for a horror website.

I’ve seen better acting in commercials for the GAP, you know the ones with the mannequins that talk but their mouths don’t move and they have a dog? And much like the characters in the GAP commercials the actors here are stiff and bland with ridiculous facial expressions. The characters also never evolve to a place where they are the character and become more than a puppet spouting out the words from script. And about that script, it has some of the worst dialogue I’ve ever heard, and when you play one of the oldest tricks in the book (the dream-within-a-dream jump scare) I’m ready for the movie to be over.

Another lesson that aspiring filmmakers should learn is that just the presence of blood is not a scary thing.  Violence should move the story along or serve it to some point.  Violence for violence’s sake can be sniffed out fast, and this movie reeks of it.  The violence isn’t full force until the third act, but it’s the most bland and pointless violence that I’ve ever witnessed.  It’s also not creative, because if a filmmaker is going to have a scene where a character is brutally murdered, I would remember it a lot more vividly (and maybe enjoy it) if it was in the slightest bit creative and not just another rip off of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

One more idea to be mindful of if you’d like to make horror movies is that inserting a pointless rape scene is also not scary.  The movies that take rape and show it for the very graphic and brutal act that it is – like The Hills Have Eyes, The Last House on the Left, and Cannibal Holocaust – make it horrifying. There was no cause for a rape scene in this film and it was also a more awkward experience than a terrifying one.

Its hard for me to watch a movie and not look at the editing with a special type of eyes.  Jump cuts are not a bad thing in my opinion, sometimes they work really well.  But this movie overuses them to the point that it’s laughable.  There are also a lot of choices made in regard to the cinematography that I can’t help but wonder why.  For example, there’s a scene where two people are eating in a restaurant and the camera has the table next to them framed in the foreground, so during the entire conversation the arms and glasses of this other table are moving around and obstructing your view.  There are other questionable shooting choices as well.

There was one thing about this movie that I thought was cool, one shot in particular.  When the crazed motorcycle driver drops a chainsaw on the ground and keeps walking.  Something simple, but that’s it.  This movie would have been a lot better in my opinion if it had been a short film and not a feature, there’s not enough to chew on for 80 minutes. There are no redeeming qualities to this movie, it’s not “so bad that it’s good” either, it’s just bad. The only reason I would tell you to watch it is so that you would know how not to make a horror movie.

Rating: 1 out of 10

For more on Rage, visit the official site.