Reviewed by: Scott Macdonald

The hoariest of horror cliche plots: the psycho in the woods thriller. This time the psycho (while present) is almost irrelevant. The story bungs attractive young people, corrupt cops and park rangers in the middle of nowhere, dresses them succinctly with (mostly) distinct personalities and secrets. They do terrible things to one another.

And that's all you're getting in terms of plot. Rabies is a confident, interesting thriller; a very well-directed, intriguing spin on a deeply derivative premise. Situations mount and the characters do unspeakable things - sometimes due to mistaken identity, through malice, or by way of plain, character driven revelations.

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The film wears its influences on its sleeve. A situation involving a bear trap, chases in literal and metaphysical minefields and the occasional barbed line of dialogue are reminiscent of fun Brit-horror Severance. It certainly shares the same line of drip-feed tension and quality shocks.

The script is knowing, loving and amusingly toys with the genre, skipping perfunctory exposition and sowing situational and character wrinkles without missing a beat. It draws the characters and motivations (perhaps too) quickly, and spices the often full-on suspense with some big grisly laughs and raucous wit.

Technicals are great: the film is well-shot, sometimes creative in framing and editorial, but never less than effective for it. The excellent sound mixing works well to bolster the picture's impact. In short, it's a refreshing spin down genre lane with minimal complications. I loved it.

Reviewed on: 19 Jun 2011
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As a psycho killer lurks in the woods, a group of nervous people might represent a bigger threat to each other.
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Keith Hennessey Brown **1/2

Director: Ahron Keshales, Navot Paposhaddo

Writer: Ahron Keshales, Navot Paposhaddo

Starring: Lior Ashkenazi, Ania Bukstein, Ofer Shechter, Yael Grobglas, Ran Danker, Menashe Noy, Danny Geva, Henry David, Liat Har Lev, Efrat Boimold, Yaron Motola, Efrat Rayten

Year: 2010

Runtime: 90 minutes

Country: Israel

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