Sunday, December 2, 2012

Rabies / Kalevet (2010)

Director: Aharon Keshales, Navot Papushado
Writers: Aharon Keshales, Navot Papushado
Genre:  Human horror, black comedy
Recommended to: Fans of unconventional foreign horror films
                Tali and Ofer – Sister and brother– Ofer’s sister
                The Killer
                Menashe – The ranger
                Adi, Shir, Mikey, Pini – The tennis players
                Danny, Yuval – The cops
While fleeing through the forest, Tali stumbles into one of the killer’s traps. Ofer seeks help from the four tennis players, the police are called and a park ranger comes to her rescue. Chaos ensues.

The Ramble:
Famous (infamous?) for being the first Israeli horror film (and really, what took so long), Rabies is absolutely nothing like I expected, and, sadly, that makes it very hard to talk about as half the fun is seeing how the film unfolds. I will say this about the plot – the killer is taken out of action very early in the film; the real conflict comes as the fears and insecurities of the “normal” people. Yes, there is a body count, but not one is at the hands of the film’s nominal villain.

I really enjoyed Rabies. It is a dark and pessimistic commentary on humanity (with some political overtones as well), but even without that it would have much to offer genre fans. It is very well directed and edited, often surprising this horror veteran with the timing and methods of the kills. My only hesitation in recommending this is the number of vehemently negative reviews I’ve seen on the internet, which seem to have been expecting a more traditional slasher film. If the framing of expectations really is the culprit here, then I would say to remove them completely, because I simply haven’t seen anything like this before.