A lean, satisfying brutal survival thriller, “I Am Rage” doesn’t try to be anything other than a bloody good time — succeeding on that front.
I Am Rage centers around Erin (Hannaj Bang Bendz), an abduction survivor who suffers from serious anxiety and moments of extreme anger.
A new relationship sees her having to move out of her comfort zone and spend the weekend with her new BF and his family. As someone who trusts no one, she has kept her past to herself to live her life as best she can. It just so happens that this weekend will see her cross paths with a family harboring a dark secret, triggering a deadly fight for survival.
And the family is not ready for this. Oh, no.
Starting with an action-filled pre-credit sequence, I Am Rage engages viewers early and builds nicely to deliver 90 minutes of pleasantly diverting entertainment.
The pre-credits sequence does enough to hook the audience, featuring solid practical effects and a standout character you know will be making her presence felt later on as someone you’ll love to hate.
Once we get into the main story, Director and writer David Ryan Keith (working from a script co-written by Stephen Durham) does an excellent job quickly establishing the key premise. We learn everything is not ok with Erin and that she struggles with new places and people and coping with life.
Erin first meets her boyfriend Adam’s (Derek Nelson) brother, Michael (Luke Aquilina), and his girlfriend, Sarah (Antonia Whillans). The meeting is a tense one, as a stupid prank goes awry. Sarah learns the hard way that Erin doesn’t like surprises. The gregarious jokester Adam seems to be the polar opposite of his more reserved, kind-hearted brother, Adam. After the confrontational meeting, the vivacious Sarah quickly tries to bond with Erin, both outsiders to the family.
If you have seen films of this genre before, you may suspect that one or more of these four is not exactly who they seem, a suspicion that will soon be confirmed.
The next morning, they arrive at the remote, palatial estate of Adam’s wealthy — and somewhat off-kilter — parents, Ruth (Debbie Sheridan) and Peter (Jamie B. Chambers) Richmond.
Sarah comments on how lucky she and Erin are to be dating men from considerable means. But the creepy, unsettling nature of the family is telegraphed early on. And it’s not hard to predict where this might be going.
Ruth immediately takes a noticeable and unsettling interest in Erin, barely noticing Sarah. At this point, Erin’s radar for danger is already blinking madly. Sarah herself soon has a chilling encounter with Ruth while taking a bath, tuning her into the fact that she may not be as fortunate as she once thought to have found her way into this home.
By the first family dinner, it becomes clear that Sarah and Erin are in grave danger.
However, the malevolent Richmonds have no idea who they are messing with, and the stage is now set for a brutal and bloody survival horror.
There is a quick bit of exposition from the brothers Grimm on their work and just what nefarious plans they have for the two women they’ve kidnapped. As they begin their work, Erin utters with cool intensity, “I am going to kill you all,” and you just know she’s a woman of her word.
With her dead star and aloof nature, Erin exudes a sense of calm, determination, and strong survival instincts.
It’s not hard to root for her and believe she can eliminate any threat. We get the sense she has already killed all her tormenters in her head, and she’s more than ready to do it for real.
The threads are pulled together as The Richmond daughter, Margret (Marta Svetek), finally appears. We recognize her immediately as the badass from the aforementioned pre-credits scene. She’s there to help seal the deal to offer new blood to a big-hunt buyer, Wilson (Niko Foster), who the family has been entertaining with poor unfortunates.
Erin’s first action is to take Adam down — fair play, she did warn him first — and there is a certain satisfaction in watching her put him to sleep. The same goes for the smug Michael, who deserves what’s coming to him.
Erin takes no prisoners and delivers quick, brutal, and to-the-point justice.
Soon, Erin and Sarah discover they are not alone. This leads to one of the film’s plot holes that never explains where the other captives came from. I suppose getting into this would have slowed things down and possibly stretched the budget too far.
The girls make their escape, but you already know it’s too early in the film for that to be the end. We know there must surely be a final climactic showdown involving Margret, who the filmmakers have taken care to establish as the big bad.
The family gets a rude awakening as they discover who Erin is and what she did to survive her previous nightmare.
Finding out that her blood has something that makes her priceless, the Richmonds believe they can handle her without immediately killing her. They instead set her up as the prize with the Big Game Hunter/blood buyer Wilson in a game to see who can kill her first.
The final act turns into a Turkey Shoot, with Margret setting the girls loose and Wilson and the family in hot pursuit.
From here on in, the film does settle into familiar territory, but it manages to punch above its weight in terms of budget, using the locale well. The effects are decent, and the fights are suitably bone-crunching. It helps that the family members all manage to convey a sense of palatable evil; when they are put down, you can’t help but give a little raised fist — especially when Adam finally gets his ultimate comeuppance.
The final boss fight, as expected, is executed well, with both women giving it 100% (although the payoff was telegraphed earlier, making it less satisfying).
Ultimately, is this one worth a look? A lot of what you will get out of it depends on how you approach it.
If you are expecting a totally original story or something very elevated, you may be disappointed. However, if you fancy a 90-minute no-brain required violent diversion, then it definitely delivers on that promise.
Yes, there are a couple of plot threads that aren’t resolved but, in all honesty, it doesn’t detract from the film at all.
I Am Rage is lean, mean, and doesn’t outstay its welcome; Erin is a compelling character I’d love to see more of.