Funny story, as the opening credits were rolling, the first several names listed were no name actors and actresses. I thought to myself, “could I get a Brad Dourif in here? Or maybe a Keith David?” Sure enough, Brad Dourif’s name pops up as he plays the exterminator. I was pleased by it.
Not surprisingly, Dourif is the best part of this movie. He’s not in it a whole lot, but he does get to deliver one of his trademark creepily intense monologues. It’s magnificent. Sadly, much like Ron Perlman in Sleepwalkers, Dourif’s character gets unceremoniously killed off. He doesn’t even die fighting the ROUS; his head gets crushed by a coffin, lame.
Beyond that, the movie is surprisingly OK. It’s not great by any stretch, but it was passable in many respects. The acting and writing are all, by and large, decent. The only weak link is the foreman. His dialogue is the only one who suffers from the “nobody would ever actually say this” syndrome, and the actor’s line delivery is completely off. I think he was trying to affect some sort of New Englander accent, but he failed miserably and it just makes his lines sound that much wonkier.
For a monster movie, the monster plays a fairly small role. He kills off a couple of characters, but largely remains off screen. I can see what they were trying to do, but when the movie is six minutes from being finished and the main characters are just now getting to confronting the monster, it makes for a rushed climax.
Speaking of which, the characters are surprisingly unfazed by the existence of this thing. The other characters give the appropriate “oh God, what the hell is that thing?” response, but the two who battle it at the end don’t really seem to think that this is a very big deal. The main character just sort of nods as he watches this monstrous creature eat his boss; it’s very bizarre.
While the movie does have its goofy moments, it does play enough straight that you buy it as a horror movie. It’s not the most terrifying cinematic experience, but it does have its moments.
Is it weird that I started to feel bad for the rats? No, seriously, these guys are cruel. One guy just drops them into one of the industrial machines and the main character shoots empty soda cans at them with a slingshot. I’m not an ardent fan of mice and rats, but that just seems cruel.
The special effects were actually pretty well done. Some of the gore was obviously fake, but by and large, they were solid practical effects. The ROUS also looks pretty decent. A little bit more detail would’ve been nice, but it does the job well enough.
I went into this with rock bottom expectations and came out rather impressed. As I said, it’s no masterpiece, but it is much better than you’d think it would be. At the very least, this movie gives you Brad Dourif, and that’s never a bad thing.