It’s a remake! It’s a sequel! It’s a remake! It’s a sequel! No, it’s an homage! Who knows what “The Rage: Carrie 2” is. Like most “sequels” in the late nineties and early aughts, I imagine this was originally just called “The Rage,” and the studios decided to plug in a lot of continuity from Brian DePalma’s “Carrie.” A few quick fixes, and voila! We have a sequel to “Carrie” that no one wanted. “Carrie 2” is actually a solid dramatic thriller when all is said and done, the problem is it’s really not necessary. We don’t need to know what happened once Carrie White destroyed her entire student body.
However, what the film lacks in necessity it makes up for in developing Amy Irving’s character of Sue Snell. She returns and is now a high school counselor who suspects main character Rachel might be a telekinetic like Carrie White. What’s truly tragic about Sue Snell, is that she has great intentions and a good heart, but just seems to make things worse when she involves herself. She gave Carrie White her prom that ended in a blood bath, and she tries to help Rachel realize her powers which ends–yet again–in a blood bath, and a brutal death of her character. It’s kind of sad how Sue never could seem to help anyone throughout her life. The more she tries to make things better, the events became worse and much more dangerous. If anything the re-appearance of Irving as Sue isn’t just for the sake of connecting the first movie to this one. Irving as Snell is given an active role and can never seem to be any match for human cruelty.
Emily Bergl is a great successor to Sissy Spacek as character Rachel Lang. She unfortunately has to follow the iconic performance by Spacek, and Bergl doesn’t seem to try to top her. She instead carves out her own image of a tragic genre character. She’s an individual who–unlike Carrie–is actually capable of taking charge, but is stifled by a troubled life. While Rachel isn’t quite as tragic as Carrie White, she is someone who could never quite find happiness, and pays for seeking it. Bergl as Rachel is much stronger and courageous than Carrie, opting to destroy the local football team when their antics involving sleeping with underage girls ends in the suicide of her best friend. She’s immune to their wiles and threats, and becomes a heroine of a sorts for the poor girls. When they decide to seek revenge on her, this triggers her deeply rooted evil the same way it did for Carrie White. Bergl’s performance is strong and passionate and it’s a shame we never saw her more prominently in film after “The Rage.”
While the movie isn’t a masterpiece, it’s a really respectable follow-up to the DePalma film that expands on Carrie’s condition of telekinesis. It opens up ideas for future films about the Carrie legacy, and gives us a clue as to what causes the telekinesis and how it may be a seed for pure wrath and evil. It also ends on a crushing downbeat finale much in the realm of “Carrie.” Which is rare, considering it was the nineties, and films almost always had to have a positive ending. Though the movie is very much a dated late nineties genre entry (love the references to “Garbage,” and “Scream”), the final pay off where Rachel gets her own form of justice is still dazzling. I love the tattoo that takes on a life of its own, and the vicious punishment she doles out, including a girl’s eyes exploding from her head, and another character’s genitals being shot from out his back with a spear gun. “Carrie 2” won’t be accused of being a classic, but I really think it’s a nice epilogue to Carrie White’s story and how she continues resonating as a martyr for victims.