"Willard" (2003, Glen Morgan)

Discussion in 'Reader Reviews' started by Uncle Jay, Jun 12, 2014.

  1. Uncle Jay

    Uncle Jay Member

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    At the time this was released in 2003, there hadn't been a really good rat movie in a while. The 80's gave us a slew of fun rat flicks like "Deadly Eyes" (1982), Mattei's "Rats" (1984), "Food of the Gods II" (1989), "Stephen King's Graveyard Shift" (1990) and my favorite in the genre, "Of Unknown Origin (1983)", about a man (Peter Weller) who is tormented by a rat in his luxury New York City home.

    A remake of the 1971 cult film of the same name, "Willard" tells the story of Willard Stiles (a terrific Crispin Glover), a weird, meek, social misfit. He lives at home with his dying overbearing mother (Jackie Burroughs) in a old enormous house and daily gets pushed around by his sadistic boss Frank Martin (R. Lee Ermey), who is slowly taking over the business that Willard's father (now deceased) started. His only sympathy comes from his beautiful co-worker Cathryn (Laura Harring), who has taken a heartfelt interest in Willard.

    Lurking in the dingy cellar of the Stiles' home, is a small family of rats. One particular rat, a white one, gets stuck in a glue trap. Willard, feeling pity, rescues it and a friendship bonds. He calls the rat Socrates, and they become "best friends". Before you know it, more rats visit Willard's cellar and he comes to realize that he can communicate with them all, and their numbers are growing by day. He uses this power to his advantage by submitting revenge against his evildoers. Willard is soon introduced to Ben, a powerful, extra-large rat, that is up to his own evil. Ben wants to be the leader, not the Number 3 man (err, rat) that Willard has made him under Socrates. It's only a matter of time when things get out of hand.

    Let me flat out say, that I enjoyed "Willard". Crispin Glover was born to play this role, he was simply outstanding. After years of having been sucked into third-rate roles in films ("Wild at Heart", "Gilbert Grape", "The People vs. Larry Flynt", "Charlie's Angels"), it was very pleasing to see Glover command the screen in a leading role for a change. The film itself is simple, but very well done. The look of the film, is reminiscent of Tim Burton's films, the supporting cast of Ermey, Burroughs and Harring were in great form here. Although I thought Harring's character was underused, I would've liked to have seen more of a relationship between her and Willard...but she is a sweet thing to look at in the midst of all the dirtiness involved in this film. Jackie Burroughs ("The Dead Zone") was creepier than the rats were as Willard's ailing mother. And then there are the Rats, who are not really that scary...but very fun to watch!!

    The film was re-written and directed by Glen Morgan, who wrote the original "Final Destination" and countless episodes of "Millennium" and "X-Files", and three-years later would adapt and direct another remake of a cult horror classic "Black Christmas". He did a nice job updating a forgotten horror film from the '70s...I can't say the same for "Black Christmas."

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  2. fattyjoe37

    fattyjoe37 Well-Known Member

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    Love this one. In the recent decade of remakes we've had to deal with, this is the only film that I feel improves upon its predecessor and is a great film in its own right.
     
  3. othervoice1

    othervoice1 Well-Known Member

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    I really enjoyed this one as well
     
  4. maybrick

    maybrick Well-Known Member

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    I haven't thought about it in years but it's a very good remake. Frankly I'm amazed that it was released the year my daughter was born because I my first guess would have been a few years earlier than that. Time flies!
     

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