Written and directed by Chris Witherspoon, Rage (2010) is a film that shows, in explicit detail, just how far someone will go for the sake of petty revenge. The $100,000 independent feature plays as two parts paranoid thriller and one part Slasher film, following a day (from hell) in the life of a man named Dennis (Rick Crawford). Dennis, who is happily married, or so it seems, has come to a point in his life where he only really thinks about one person: himself. Dennis has become so preoccupied with himself that he has completely allowed his better judgment fall by the wayside, and the once happily married man has found himself having an elicit affair with another woman.
Throughout the film, it's made quite clear that his wife is nothing short of wonderful, supportive and loving, something that makes it all the more apparent that Dennis is simply feeding his own selfish needs. This is further proven when Dennis breaks things off with the woman he's been seeing. Dennis has been stringing along his mistress in a whirlwind romance, only to dump her because he now suffers from a guilty conscience over what he has been doing behind his wife's back. While Dennis is trying to wipe his slate clean, his selfish ways have blinded him to the potential dangers that surround him. Soon after what seems to be a random encounter with a biker decked out in all black, Dennis finds himself being stalked by the stranger, whose advances become increasingly violent, until things go well beyond anything Dennis could have ever imagined.
While the encounter is random at first thought, the woman who Dennis was having an affair with has an ex-boyfriend who is not only incredibly jealous, he was just released from prison. Is the biker who's been stalking Dennis her ex-boyfriend, or is it someone else altogether? Regardless of the answer, Dennis is forced to own up to his disrespectfully selfish ways in a fashion that no man could ever be prepared for.
At first glance, Rage is a movie that seems to have an identity complex on the surface, but in retrospect, the overall film gels together due to Dennis' character flaw driven plot. As I sat back and watched the film, I was a little confused at times as to what the movie was trying to be and where it was going, but there is a clear destination followed, which would be revealed to me upon deeper thought. As a result, the film that I found to be just okay, I now find to be much more enjoyable and possibly even worthy of a rewatch just to see how it plays out a second time around.
For a movie that costs only a $100,000 to make, Rage shows signs of a strong technical presence. There're moments where it feels and looks almost like a Hollywood made feature with a lot of skill brought to the table technically; however, there are moments where the independent feature flaws show up, things like cheap fade-ins and outs, for example. Regardless, as a whole, Rage is a well put together feature, with varied stylistic choices that seem to go hand in hand with what is unfolding on screen.
As far as the performances go, most of the acting is passable, but there's nothing too outstanding. Though, there is some lackluster and somewhat mellow dramatic dialogue to be found during certain moments in the film, something that I think hinders the impact of the performances at times. I would say the best performance does come from the silent stalker himself, the mysterious biker (who is actually played by the film's director), who, outside of a few minor cheesy hand acting moments, is an effectively intimidating presence in the film.
Overall, Rage is an interesting, if not slightly flawed, cautionary tale that should payoff for many fans of low-budget/independent horror cinema. The film often feels like a rollercoaster ride for the character and viewer alike, and while there are times where things get a little bumpy, the overall ride is satisfying enough to get back on again for another go around.
If you want to find out more about Chris Witherspoon's Rage, you can pop your head in over at the film's official site which I have conveniently highlighted just for you.