Author: Mudede, Charles
Date published: March 21, 2012
Journal code: STRR
Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado's fascinating Israeli horror/slasher film opens in total darkness. We hear two voices: one is of a woman; the other, a man. After a moment, the flame from a lighter reveals a beautiful woman. Her name is Tali (Liat Harlev). She is wearing a sexy red dress. Her big eyes are filled with fear. She trembles like an animal about to be slaughtered. Tali is stuck in a hole that has a metal trap door. "Who could make such a thing?" says the man looking down at her. This man turns out to be her brother, Ofer (Henry David). His handsome face is filled with worry. He does not know what do. He leaves his sister and looks for help.
Rabies also has two park rangers, a German shepherd, four tennis players, two cops, and a killer. The first of many twists in this film happens when a tranquilizer dart fired by the park ranger hits the killer. The killer runs, falls on the forest floor, and sleeps for much of the film. The inactivation of the killer, however, does not stop the violence. In fact, it increases as the monster snores. Something out here is even more evil than he is. Is it the forest? The land? Some unseen animal? The beautiful tennis players? The cops, one of whom is a sex offender? The war from the recent past? The pee of a young and gorgeous blond? In the six or so years I have covered the Seattle Jewish Film Festival, I have never seen anything as strange as Rabies. It is an original thing. SIFF Cinema at the Uptown, Sat March 24 at 9:30 pm.