Edinburgh International Film Festival

Rabies (Kalevet) (2010)

Starring: Lior Ashkenazi, Danny Geva, Ania Bukstein, Menashe Noy, Ran Danker, Henry David, Ofer Shechter, Liat Harlev, Yael Grobglas

Directed by: Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado

Rating: 1 2 3 and a half

Rabies (Kalevet)

Well, that's a first for me – my first Israeli horror film! And here was me thinking that, after The Last Circus, I'd seen it all.

Actually, as far as Rabies is concerned anyway, I kinda have, because while it's certainly novel to watch rural gothic 'lost in the woods' horror in Hebrew, the plot was rather more familiar.

The film follows the worst (and last) day in the lives of a young runaway brother and sister, four bickering teens on their way to a tennis match (?), a park ranger and his dog, two policemen and one serial killer. But in fact the mild mannered, ineffectual psychopath seems positively benign when up against the inexplicably brutal teens and the sexually predatory cops on their trail.

There seems no rhyme nor reason for the rapidly escalating carnage that ensues – a catalogue of wrong place, wrong time, wrong step on a land mine errors – unless of course the otherwise baffling title refers to the virulent infectiousness of violence in the woods.

At times funny, shocking and even moving, at times just plain ridiculous, you can't help thinking it's all a bit Shalom Cabin Fever, the influence of Eli Roth (unpleasant characters/nice use of gore) stamped all over it. If you go down to the woods today... on second thoughts, best not.

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