Director Paul J. Porter a master of creating short horror films staking his first in 2008 with Claim 24: A Dark Fairytale and most recently The Birthing Field (2014), yet sandwiched between those films, the opportunity to recreate another short film, into a full-length feature named Rabid Love from Midnight Releasing. The story comes from actress Hayley Derryberry (a young lookalike to Julia Roberts), with Paul as screenwriter, of five friends, college grads, one aspiring for medical school, seek out one last adventure and vacation into the woods in the summer of 1984. As usual in a horror story, one of the friends acquires an infection by a mosquito bite or perhaps something deadlier, and makes his love for his girlfriend quite rabid. Paul delivers a true classic 1980s powerhouse, throwback horror flick, formulated to appeal to both the older and younger generations of the horror fan base, showing a mix of humor (not comedy) and horror. Overall, the flick has a good solid production value, and retro design all for a budget estimated at $100,000, producing a psychological with a hint of a grind-house style, but sticks to the core belief of a traditional horror thriller. Another example of the classic horror homage made the appearance in the original teaser movie poster, where the film title used the same font as the Friday the 13th (1980), with the tagline “catch the virus” and a grisly set of teeth and gums. However, the final version incorporated a more modest artwork, featuring, and a woman in tiny bikinis, guns, a lone police car and a hairy man with steel claws, the tagline: “madness can be contagious”. The second poster falls into the pattern of over-saturated the artwork, as do many modern horror films find themselves guilty of completing.
The group of friends, interacts well with each, a solid friendship belief translate to the audience, with typical acting for a low-budget horror, no glaring issues, or worries. Adam (Josh Hammond) easily gains attention, as a beer-swigging hunter completely crude and crass, yet has the beautiful (Hanna Landberg) as Summer – his girlfriend. Paul Porter also stars as John, Heather’s (Hayley Derryberry) love interest and both honorable concealing secrets from the others. Jessica Sonneborn as Julie Ann (who incidentally stars in Piranha Sharks (2014) with two of her co-stars, truly a small world), tags along for the trip and joins in the mayhem. Sadly, for this merry group, John’s introduction to a stranger in the woods proves tad hairy of situation, namely David a lover of nature has devious intentions. After the first night in a family cabin, that has the most wonderful taxidermy coat racks, which PETA definitely would find offensive, but classic for this film. The slasher fun starts about 45-minutes into the film, after reports fun a local informing the group of the danger in the wood of a killer bear, similar reference (one of many) to the officer to the Sean Cunningham’s Friday the 13th warning. Mixed with the lust of the group, and consumption of beer, sexual relations, the blood flow begins, with many off camera kills, leaving the audience with their imagination for carnage and gore.
The major setback in the film comes from the first 40-minutes of awful pacing that crumbles all of the good will later in the movie, the suspense sacrificed for character development, yet premise mixes the slasher genre with werewolves, genetically enhanced, the horror core for this viewing is not interest in the characters. A simple formula exists provide a group, with location, more remote the better add in sin factors and a killer, any type, then relentless slaughter fest cookie cutter gore. Paul plants a perfect soundtrack, with a love ballad, but for the most part the music grooves the hard rock method of grinding for relations and killing, no hip-hop or rap music, just a quirky enough grouping of tracks.
Therefore, if one seeks a vintage survival instinct film filled with thrills, few chills, dash crudeness, and many beautiful women, served with tons of blood, for any bloodthirsty critters to roll around in for their pleasure and rage. By the way, stay to the end, Paul opens a wonderful door to a sequel,