Sunday, September 25, 2011

Killer Rats (2003)

Oh boy, Tibor Takacs, I just love you. Really, but I guess you – and most of your enemies - never would believe that. Sure, you made The Gate, a very fine Canadian mix between family movie and monster flick, and the equally entertaining and underrated The Gate 2. Not to forget I, Madman, a slow but gorgeous looking (and original) horror movie. But the biggest love you get from me is because of your proud career as a DTV-director, churning out movie after movie about spiders, snakes, rats, earthquakes, volcanos and yeah, every kind of threat towards mankind we can imagine. Many of them produced by Nu Image or similar companies, but always a step above the rest of the crap being released direct to home video each year. Killer Rats might not be one of your more famous works, but even if it’s a bit slow, it’s fantastic piece of ratsploitation with Ron Perlman doing a great job as usual.

Set in Philadelphia, but shot – as usual – in Sofia, Bulgaria, this is the story about a home for troubled teenagers (and dwafs, because I see one at the end). Jennifer (Sara Downing) is the latest one, and she’s taken in because of depression and just being a typical young woman without hope for the future. She’s taken care of by Dr. William Winslow (Ron Perlman), the Chief Psychiatrist at “The Brookdale Institute for the criminally insane”. But he’s not just a typical doctor, he’s a mad doctor but don’t know about it yet – because his work has created hundreds of rats, hungry for human flesh, and they are lead by one nasty big rat who happily takes a bit from everyone that comes his way!

Director Takacs creates, with a meager budget and a cast of unknowns, a lovely little movie. Slow at times, because the script is thin and Takacs always loves to squeeze some atmosphere out from every shitty script that comes into his hands. I’ve seen worse stories, and the characters are OK and most of the actors do more than what was probably expected by them. Ron Perlman, a true trooper when it comes to cheap exploitation, does what a real pro does: his best, and gives everything he’s got. I always respect that! Another fine performance comes from always reliable Michael Zelniker as the slow-minded janitor who has some form of telepathic connection with the rats (something that makes this movie a bit similar to Willard).

And I’m no one is kidding themselves to believe this is big art, so how about the effects, the rats, the gore and action? There are plenty of rats, both real, rubber and computer generated rodents. Something for everyone! The big CG rat looks quite good in some scenes, but is very uneven effects-wise. The rubber-version just looks a rubber-version being shaked so it would seem alive. The gore, nah – not that much really, but you got bloody aftermaths and some limbs here and there. It’s not a dry movie when it comes to the red stuff, but never goes to any extreme hights.

I really enjoyed Killer Rats, maybe more now the second time. It’s a well-made and good-looking rat-movie, another excellent DTV-piece by the one and only Tibor Takacs!


CiNEZiLLA said...

I love I MADMAN and the THE GATE flicks. Really good movies that I can still watch today and enjoy them just the same as I did way back in the day.



Ninja Dixon said...

And I don't even own The Gate films, need to fix that! :D

CiNEZiLLA said...

there's a great stopmotion effect in the first one where an arm get's stuck in a door, comes off, falls to the floor and turns into small buglike things that scatter all over the place. That freaked me out big time when I was a kid.