The paths of several groups of people cross in a forest nature reserve with some unexpected and some expected results in this horror film from Israel. Firstly a man and a woman running away from their oppressive parents end up in the clutches of a psychopath. Soon four people on their way to a mixed doubles tennis match somehow get lost and end up in the same deserted nature reserve. Thrown in on top of this are two lecherous cops and a man and woman who appear to be park rangers.

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There’s very little explanation of who anyone is or how they got there (I mean how lost do you have to be to think you might find a tennis court in the middle of a forest nature reserve?) and no real clue as to the meaning of the name “Rabies” either. There’s a lot of the standard stuff you get in horror in the woods type films; lots of running around, falling in holes, running into trees, getting caught in bear traps and of course land mines! Of course the main group splits up into smaller groups and then spends most of the film running around blindly trying to find the others and the “good” guys spend lots of time fighting amongst themselves rather than concentrating on the “bad” guys.

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The park ranger guy’s actions require a significant suspension of disbelief. First he sees a man carrying an unconscious woman through the forest. Later he finds the woman lying on the floor and tries to take her to safety. All well and good but it takes him ages to think to use the radio he has to call for help, he only talks to his unhelpful partner who thinks he’s having an affair with the unconscious woman, he never tries to give anyone his location and he takes no precautions at all in case the person who previously kidnapped this woman might want to get her back!

For some reason some of the other characters who have been very mild mannered up to that point are suddenly prone to fits of rage and violence. These are followed by almost shocked disbelief at their own actions and reverting back to normal. I’m not sure if this is lazy writing or an botched attempt to tie the action to the title of the film.

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Lecherous cops. Why is it that these kind of films always have to have some kind of evil authority figure? In this film the role is taken on by one of the cops who is called out to help the lost people in the woods. On first finding that there are pretty girls stranded in the woods his very first thought seems to be that it would be fun to rape them. He rapidly escalates the tension and becomes very threatening until, surprise surprise, one of them shoots him.

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This precipitates the main event of the film by having almost all of the characters running around in the forest looking for each other. Some are trying to help the people they are looking for while others have less kind intentions. Most of their actions have unintended consequences both for them and for others.

Interestingly for a horror film, there is quite a lot of standing around chatting. Even when one of the people is bleeding profusely from multiple wounds, several others are probably standing around having a chat. There is never really any sense of urgency to the actions of most of the characters except for the first guy who will stop at nothing to rescue his sister.

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A strange and disjointed film with little new or original that lurches unexpectedly between slow paced dialogue heavy drama to frantic loud running about in the woods. Memorable for being supposedly the first Israeli horror film but not much else.

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