“Rabies” is not only the first horror film to hail from Israel. It is also one of the most clever horror films to hail from any country on Earth.
That is because writers/directors Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado turn the slasher genre on its head via the motion picture. In fact, to call “Rabies” a horror film is not only an understatement but actually kind of an insult, too. It would be far more appropriate – and accurate – to simply say that this is epic entertainment that incorporates elements from a wide array of genres.
In “Rabies,” which is available today on DVD at retail stores and rental outlets throughout the Valley, Liat Har Lev plays Tali, a young woman who has become ensnared in the trap of a psychotic serial killer (Yaron Motola). David Henry plays her brother Ofer, who is desperate to free her and happens upon a group of tennis players that take a wrong turn en route to a match and end up lost.
The men (Yael Grobglas and Ania Bukstein) accompany Ofer on a trek back to save his sister while the women (Ran Danker and Ofer Shechter) stay behind to wait for the police. However, the officers who arrive (Lior Ashkenazi and Danny Geva) only further complicate matters, as does a forest ranger (Menashe Noy) who is only trying to do the right thing.
Exactly how said matters are complicated is something that is best experienced while watching the movie as opposed to reading a review. However, suffice it to say that all hell breaks loose at literally the same time and the aforementioned psychotic serial killer is the least of everybody’s worries. In fact, his presence is downright trivial compared to everything else that is occurring simultaneously.
And that is the charm of “Rabies,” a movie that masquerades as a horror film but is actually an exceptionally dark comedy of errors. Moreover, each error is exhibited with a cross cutting technique in which Keshales and Papushado set scenes up, skip their climax and cut straight to their consequences, which are often extremely serious.
The result affords a heightened sense of suspense and a very unique comic experience that will have viewers tripping over themselves to keep up with the bizarre chain of events. In other words, “Rabies” takes viewers on a ride that is entertaining on every level imaginable, encouraging one to wonder why Israeli filmmakers have not shared their incredible insight on this genre with the rest of the world until now.
“Rabies” (NR – 94 minutes) is now available on DVD at retail stores and rental outlets throughout the Valley.