review for Rabid Dogs on AllMovie

Rabid Dogs (1974)
by Jason Buchanan review

Easily the most nihilistic of Mario Bava's films, Rabid Dogs may also have one of the most interesting histories of his cinematic library. Left unfinished after the main investor died in a tragic car accident, literally freezing the funding needed to complete the film, Rabid Dogs was long thought lost - never to be seen in completed form. The film resurfaced in 1998, making its world premiere on DVD after a small Italian production company raised the needed funds to complete post-production. A marked departure from Bava's usual body of work, Rabid Dogs takes place entirely in broad daylight, trading the rich primary hues and slick visualization that usually distinguish his work for harsh natural lighting and stark compositions. It's been said that Rabid Dogs represents Bava's view of the world as a cold and cruel place, offering an interesting perspective on why he immersed himself entirely into a form of art through which he could escape the realities of everyday life. The plot, which involves a trio of criminals who, after a botched robbery take hostages and hit the road in a speeding car, creates a claustrophobic and pounding tension that conveys a feeling of constant impending dread in a volatile situation. Through a series of plot twists and unexpected events, the viewer's sympathies are shifted time and again, straight into the final unexpected frame of the film. Bava's hand in manipulating the viewer's emotions proves sure to the brutally bitter end, leaving his audience vulnerable for the final ironic twist that serves as a jet-black slap in the face to anyone who may have expected a comforting resolution.