Horror Hothouse Reviews ‘Rage’

Written and directed by Chris Witherspoon comes Rage, a low budget, American independent horror film. Set in Portland, it focuses on a man (Rick Crawford) who one morning, after kissing his wife (Audrey Walker) goodbye, heads into town and breaks up with his girlfriend. On his way he has an unintentional run in with a biker (Chris Witherspoon) and spends the rest of the day in a standoff with the motorcyclists. What appears to starts off fairly harmlessly quickly escalates into something that will make you think twice about double crossing someone over a parking space or becoming romantically involved with someone who isn’t quite available ever again. When I pressed play on the DVD remote, I was instantly surprised at the quality of the film. This is a movie that looks like it has been shot on a much larger budget and with a much more experience crew than it probably was. Each shot is carefully considered and cut and the movie flows seamlessly throughout its entire duration – this is clearly made by someone who has great awareness of not just the horror genre, but film in general. Rage has managed to shy away from the cheap scares that we see so often in the mainstream horror movies of today and has tapped into a seemingly never-ending well of suspense. Chris’ ability to build said anticipation is far rarer than the ability to shock, which I feel a lot of movies today rely too heavily on. However, that being said, there are more than a few occasions during Rage were you will genuinely be shocked. The film is a little slow at times as...

The Horror Hotel Reviews ‘Rage’

A thirty something man who lives in a suburb just outside of Portland says goodbye to his beautiful and loving wife and heads into town. There he unintentionally provokes the wrath of a mysterious motorcyclist. The confrontation between the two, sets in motion a day long battle. Beginning in the form of harmless taunts then quickly escalating into something more serious and then into something unimaginable. Just when you thought it was safe to piss off a biker…. Reviewing a truly independent work can be a tricky business. As a fan, you want to help the artist reach as large an audience as possible, yet as a critic, you have the duty, and the trust of your readership, to tell the whole truth, for good or ill. For me, I tend to view low budget, indie films within the bounds of their limitations. I look for the good in them, and I give credence where its due. If they don’t quite hit the mark, I usually point out the fact that these films were made under the most demanding of circumstances, while being more than ready to note that imagination, and skill, can overcome any hurdle. Many of these small, humble films have to be judged on their own terms, and within their own space. Not so, with Christopher Witherspoon’s RAGE. This one needs no such support frame. With RAGE, Witherspoon has crafted the sort of work that should, in a perfect world, have the studios shaking in their boots. A film that deftly transcends its budget, and its crews lack of experience, and knocks your teeth down your...

The Man Cave Reviews ‘Rage’

Soon after they part ways for good, the biker starts to harass Dennis on the city streets. At first, the threats are harmless, such as the biker zooming by Dennis’ car in his bike to give him a jolt. Then, it gets worse as the biker carves up his car with a combat knife. When Dennis meets up with his friend, who is well aware of Dennis ending his affair that day, for lunch shortly afterward, Dennis explains how he believes that he is being harassed by Dana’s ex –flame because he found out about their relationship. Once he heads back to his car, the attacks escalate to the point where Dennis begins to fear for his life and tries to figure out how to thwart his would be assailant while keeping his secret affair buried in the process. Rage is a film not like many others of its kind with a great deal of time spent in prolonged road attacks. In fact, there is a great deal of action that takes place on foot which builds more tension than in any of the driving scenes. Witherspoon integrates the fact that our protagonist is actually a very flawed character and toys with the audience’s emotions. In one sense, you feel Dennis is receiving exactly what he deserves for his infidelity to a woman who has always been his main supporter in life. Yet another part of you sees that he realizes he made a human mistake and wants redemption after realizing his wrongdoings. He is not just “some guy trying to get home” like you usually see. Rather, he is...

Apocalypse Later Reviews ‘Rage’

There are a lot of films called Rage, it seems. You don’t have to go back to the sixties, there were two in 2008, two in 2009 and one in 2010 so far. This is the latter, a horror suspense thriller from Chris Witherspoon, here credited with full first name and middle initial too, as if he’s really serious this time. His last film as writer, actor, producer and director was 2004’s Middle Man but he added even more roles this time: he covered the cinematography, the editing, the effects and the sound too. It begins peacefully enough, without even a hint of rage. A young kid cycles through a quiet Portland neighbourhood throwing papers onto porches, a woman walks her dog, homeowners check their mail. Even the tubby guy who managed to get his chainsaw stuck in a tree seems to be happy as punch. The man we watch though is Dennis Twist, who leaves his quiet neighbourhood on his day off to meet with his mistress to tell her that it’s all over. He loves his wife. He seems to be sincere. He’s a little distracted as he kisses his wife goodbye but he offers to take care of that chainsaw for his neighbour sometime that afternoon, even makes plans on the phone for lunch with a friend. This is before he meets the biker though, a biker who he manages to annoy without ever meaning to. The trigger is hardly highlighted, but it certainly seems to be something of importance to the biker, with his full black helmet that looks innocuous until the incidents begin and then we can’t...

Joblo.com Reviews ‘Rage’

PLOT: A college prof is trying to break off the affair he’s having with another woman. As he heads downtown to do it, he draws the ire of a mysterious dark biker by accident without even realizing it. This sends Dennis’ life into a tailspin as the biker’s out for revenge. REVIEW: Obviously taking its inspiration from Duel (which is directly referenced in an early scene, by name), Rage is a tense, road rage filled suspense flick that is going to grab you by your throat and dare you to go along for the ride, although things change when the final act of the film rolls around. The movie moves at a quick speed, and doesn’t try to waste any time with scenes that don’t advance the plot. The viewer wants to know who could be wearing the black skins and why they’re after our man Dennis. The flick plays out as an exciting cat and mouse chase throughout the city as Dennis is being pursued. Acting is strong here, especially from Rick Crawford who plays Dennis and has to go through the emotional gauntlet, from oblivious to cocky to downright desperate. He gets a little heavy-handed by the end, but it’s forgiveable. The violence and tension ramps up gradually but builts to a fever pace, as we see things like Dennis’ car getting keyed, and him being cut off at stop lights. It picks up from here, as Dennis goes through hell, getting the living daylights beaten out of him and even having the brakes cut in his car. This includes some great chase scenes, including a really memorable moment...

Rue-Morgue.com Reviews ‘Rage’ And Interviews Director Chris R. Witherspoon

Having worked for years in the soul-sucking Hollywood system, Christopher R. Witherspoon is now working for himself, making the movies he wants to make, and has self-financed two films so far, Middle Man and his most recent, Rage. His first feature-length foray into horror, Rage takes place over a single day when flawed hero/victim Dennis Twist (Rick Crawford), heads downtown on his day off to break things off with his mistress and meet up with a friend for some life advice. Of course, the idyllic (sort of) afternoon turns to terror when a mysterious black-clad motorcyclist, whose parking spot Dennis steals, takes it upon himself to ruin Twist’s life in only a matter of hours. This road romp has more than a little in common with Steven Spielberg’s classic debut,Duel, with city streets replacing the back roads and a sporty motorcycle standing in for the deadly tanker truck. Despite being derivative, it’s still a pretty tense ride. The bike makes a stealthy predator in the concrete jungle, especially when up against a clunky mid-sized sedan. The Duel-doubling is dropped two-thirds of the way through when Rage turns into a brutal home invasion tale and the ever-helmeted biker takes on a horrific Michael Myers-like presence. With its simple, suspenseful plot and a balls-out bloody climax, this horror-on-wheels will have an indie horror fan head-over-heels in horrific glee. A great example of a great D.I.Y. filmmaker, I got in touch with Mr. Witherspoon so that he could express his own rage. Let’s start at the very beginning: what were some movies you loved to watch as a kid? Growing up, my mother used to take me to the drive-in...