I Am Rage certainly had me expecting a good time. It’s directed by David Ryan Keith whose films include The Redwood Massacre, its sequel Redwood Massacre: Annihilation, and Ghosts of Darkness. He co-wrote it with Stephen Durham who co-wrote and directed the excellent female-fronted action film Army of One and the horror flick Abbey Grace. So the two of them teaming up to make an action/horror hybrid definitely had my attention.
The film certainly gets off on the right foot as a bound man who’s being drained of his blood by a masked figure breaks free only to end up fighting Margret (Marta Svetek, The 355, The Hustle) the cult’s leader, and getting his throat slit so he can bleed out into a bucket.
Meanwhile, Erin (Hannaj Bang Bendz, Deadly Perfect, Dragon Kingdom) is getting ready to meet her boyfriend Adam’s (Derek Nelson, Werewolves of the Third Reich, Freeze) parents. First, they meet his brother Michael (Luke Aquilina, Redwood Massacre: Annihilation, Trapped) and his girlfriend Sarah (Antonia Whillans, Looks Can Kill, Croc!) whose idea of a joke triggers Erin into a burst of violence.
Between that, the prescription bottle she pulls from her pocket, and the flash of nightmare we saw, it’s fairly obvious Erin is fighting some demons. But in this case, that’s a good thing, because she will need those demons’ help if she wants to survive.
The plot has something to do with harvesting human blood and selling it to the wealthy believe drinking it will keep them eternally young. Only this time they picked the wrong victim because Erin was abducted at age four and abused for fifteen years. Somehow she escaped, leaving a trail of mangled bodies behind her. As Adam’s father Peter (Jamie B. Chambers, Wolves of War, One Shot) puts it “To say that she has anger issues would be a gross understatement”.
The final act turns I Am Rage into The Most Dangerous Game as the girls escape, freeing the other captives as well. The blood cultists, along with Mr. Wilson (Niko Foster, Justice, The Dark Within) a client who we already saw hunting some random guy down, go after them. It’s energetic and bloody with the highlight being a hand driven clean through someone’s body, tearing out their heart in the process.
Even better is the fact that the carnage is all staged with practical effects including plenty of bloody gunshot wounds and someone’s dying breath emerging as a gusher of blood. It feels very eighties with the sheer amount of blood spraying about and I hope more indie action filmmakers follow I Am Rage’s example and help make CGI blood spray a thing of the past.
Yes the plot is a bit on the silly side with the blood drinking angle and the masked cultists look a bit cheesy, but everyone is giving it their all. Svetek is chilling as the sadistic cult leader and she and Bendz have an excellent showdown in a ruined church graveyard. Foster, running around shirtless in a leather vest with a cigar and a big gun is like a mini version of Arnold. Or if you disregard the cigar, a younger Ted Nugent, who is an avid hunter and probably would hunt people given the chance.
The film’s flaws are few, it could have used a stronger dose of horror for the genre fans and probably should have ended right after the fight between Margret and Erin, the few minutes after it are anti-climactic and water the last act down. While it’s not the low budget masterwork I was hoping for, I Am Rage is still an above average film with a lot of blood and some good fights.
Uncork’d Entertainment will release I Am Rage on DVD and Digital Platforms on August 1st.