Crispin Glover stars as Willard, a creepy man who lives with his dying mother and prefers the company of rats over other human beings. And in Willard, he uses his pet rats to enact revenge on his belittling boss.
Willard is one of those movies that obviously cannot be taken too seriously; after all, it is a movie about killer rats. Plot is minimal and scare factor is nonexistent, yet Willard does have something going for it that other cheesy horror movies such as Eight Legged Freaks do not is an intriguing and good lead actor/character. Glover, who is best known for his role as Michael J. Fox's dad in Back to the Future, is exceptional as the creepy, near-mental breakdown Willard. His facial expressions and voice are that of a man who is having a lot of fun playing just such a character; after all, what else can you expect out of a role like this? Should he do the same performance in a movie where he plays a real bad guy, such as a serial killer, he would be intensely scary.
That being said, Willard isn't scary and never really tries to be. It is a movie about this twisted man who has rat friends and who goes a little crazy after his boss kills his favorite pet. Nothing more, nothing less. You get what you ask for, and so in that way Willard succeeds.
Still, Willard is not a movie that really has much going for it from the beginning, and having watched it once, there is really no need to see it again. Most people probably won't want to watch it the first time...
So what is my ruling? Willard is exactly what I expected it to be, an intentionally goofy yet relatively dark horror-comedy. If that's what you're looking for, then go for it; if not, then stay clear.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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