Directed by: Robert Kurtzman
If you're a horror fan or make-up enthusiast, you'll most certainly know the name of Robert Kurtzman. If not, he's one of the founding members of K.N.B. EFX Group along with Greg Nicotero and Howard Berger, starting his makeup effects career with films like Night of the Creeps, Evil Dead II, Phantasm II and Intruder. Working continuously, he left K.N.B. in 2002 to form his own production company, while still working on film and television projects in every genre. Occasionally he takes the time to write and direct (sporadically), which leads us to his 2007 feature The Rage. I'd actually never even heard of this film until recently when I saw it mentioned in a comment on someones review of his directorial debut of Wishmaster.
Oh boy. So, going into this, I had very high expectations. I mean, it's not every day that one of the biggest and best effects wizards in the industry takes the time to direct a film. Sure, it does happen from time to time; some with more lasting results than others. Stan Winston only directed 2 films with Pumpkinhead and the bizarre A Gnome named Gnorm. Tom Savini has only ever directed one single feature film to date with the 1990 remake of Night of the Living Dead, which by the way, as far as remakes go, is an insanely underrated horror film. One that deserves a higher reputation than it currently has. So while going back to Kurtzman; in 1995 he made his directorial debut with The Demolitionist, which I have yet to see, then delivering Wishmaster two years later, which I absolutely loved and was so much fun. So you can understand my excitement going into The Rage, a low-budget effects driven horror film fully financed by his production company. Immediately I'm thinking something like Wishmaster X 1,000.
The Rage is basically a Made-for-TV quality Syfy Channel movie, only with the gore content turned up to 11. Gone is the competency and maturity Kurtzman displayed with Wishmaster, and what we have instead is If you didn't already know before going into this that he was behind the camera, honestly you never would have guessed while watching it. It's as if they hired any schmo right out of the Syfy Channel's endless lineup of made on the cheap Creature Features. If you're into low-quality filmmaking, then you might enjoy this. I mean, it's clear they were having fun here. The film itself is pretty damn crazy from start to finish, but overall just a mess. It really does fall in the lowest of the low category as far as quality goes. Now don't get me wrong, I can enjoy one of these films any day of the week, when they're done right. I fucking LOVE bad movies. However, everything about this one just felt off from pretty much every angle. Bloody, yes. Entertaining, no.
While the practical effects work just fine, it's everything else that falls completely flat like the camerawork, the acting, the gawd-awful CGI effects, the editing, everything. I should also mention besides directing, he came up with the story, produced it, along with several other family members, and produced the many special and visual effects and also worked as his own cinematographer.
Wishmaster was a huge step in the right direction as far as moving into directing feature films. The Rage is a huge misstep in the opposite.