New Line Cinema

“Yes.  Look at the rats…”

With a boss from hell, a dead-end job, an overbearing ill-mother and no friends, life has become one big trap for Willard Stiles.  Things start looking up when he is sent to dispose of rats that were found in his home and instead discovers that he begins to share a powerful bond with them.  Cathryn, a co-worker, lends an understanding hand, but even she takes a back seat to Socrates, Ben and the rest of the legion of rats that begin to infest the basement of the Stiles home.  When Willard’s world is turned upside-down by tragedy, those responsible must answer to his rapidly growing pack of ravenous, fearsome friends.

Okay, I have to admit, I went to watch the 2003 version of Willard out of morbid curiosity, rather than to see how it held up to the 1971 flick of the same name.  I’m not exactly familiar with the 1971 version, other than it co-starred Ernest Borgnine as Willard’s boss.  And that it had something to do with a bunch of rats doing a guy’s bidding. Didn’t watch the original flick, or read the book both versions are based on – Ratman’s Notebooks – all I knew was, this version starred Crispin Glover and R. Lee Ermey.  I was gonna watch this thing regardless of what the movie was.

And, apparently not too many people had the same desire, at least not in Omaha – by the time I caught a weekend matinée with Nex, it was just us inside the place.  And what transpired was such over-the-top camp that the fact that we were alone to really let loose with our, let’s just say verbal participation without incurring the wrath of anybody else, just enhanced the experience.

While I would understand someone with musophobia (fear of mice and/or rats, natch) would consider Willard to be a terrifying horror flick – and there are a lot of rats in this movie, just in case you are – gleefully twisted individuals like myself found Willard to be great campy fun, a B-movie with some good sets and rather memorable performances from both Glover and Ermey, great for a Bad Movie Nite gathering.  Maybe not worth the price of the theater ticket, or owning on DVD outright, but definitely worth a rental.