With more Academy Awards nominations than any other country in the Middle East, Israel has earned a reputation as a leading originator of independent film. Yet despite the proliferation of family dramas, war-related films and fascinating documentaries, Israeli cinema has gone light on traditional genre movies. Brace yourself for Rabies, Israel’s first-ever horror flick. Shot in 19 days on a shoestring budget, this gruesome slasher pays homage to its American B-movie roots with a winking, camp-heavy script and an impressive A-list cast (Lior Ashkenazi, Ania Bukstein and Danny Geva, to name a few).
A woman with a dark secret is ensnared in an underground trap by a psychotic serial killer, deep within an Israeli forest. Brother Ofer races to rally help before the killer returns. Meanwhile, a grizzled forest ranger, a pair of rogue cops and four good-looking youths who took a wrong turn en route to the tennis courts get drawn into a roiling ocean of misunderstandings. A ferocious bloodbath ensues. First-time directors Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado have said the film is an allegory of the state of Israel. Is it a wickedly clever polemic on fear and rage in Israeli society? Or just an excuse to see someone caught in a bear trap? Either way, consider yourself warned: There will be blood.