Willard (2003) Review

Spoiler-free so you can read before you watch

Willard (2003) Review

Horrorific content by adrian on September 20th, 2020 | Movie Review | Psychological, Creature, Revenge, Dysfunctional Family

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It's about a guy who is bullied on the daily both at home and work, but stumbles on a sinister realization that his brood of pet rats can bully back.

Willard was directed by Glen Morgan and stars Crispin Glover (from We Have Always Lived In The Castle and Simon Says), R. Lee Ermey (from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) and Laura Harring (from Inside and Mulholland Drive).

When the cat's away, the rats will play.

Willard 2003 Review

Willard is a psychological horror about a guy who lives at home with his ailing mom by night and slaves away for a wailing boss by day. The only peace this guy experiences is his quirky companionship with about 10,000 wild rats. He's crazy about them too, names them all, trains them and takes the throne as their strict but fair leader. You can't help but feel empathy for Willard, who suffers relentless abuse by his mom and his boss, but also revulsion at all the bloody animal gore that gets thrown at you. One scene in particular that was made to be funny and whimsical was about a poor house cat running for its life (unsuccessfully) from an army of rats. It was weird to see a silly cat trying not to die while listening to a cheesy soft pop soundtrack. It worked, but was unexpected to say the least. It's somewhat similar to Stephen King's Graveyard Shift mainly because it also had rats running around and getting killed off in brutal ways. In Graveyard shift there's a lot of rock throwing, in Willard it's a lot of stick bashing, poison gassing and barrel burning.  

This movie is a Hollywood reboot of the original Willard from 1971. The original featured a quirky kid while this reboot features a grown ass man who is unusually shy and timid. This reboot follows the original pretty closely, both guys get pushed around and use their rats to push back. The push back starts fairly innocent and fun, but slowly gets out of hand and leads to bloody rat covered corpses of fat guys splattered in the streets. It's actually only one murdered fat guy splattered on one street, but still. This is honestly my only complaint about Willard, that he only used his rats to slash one victim. It IS a horror movie after all.  

Willard is not for the squeamish. I was a bit shocked by the rat killing scenes in the original, but this movie takes it to a whole new level. Special effects are fantastic and so was the acting. Willard was played by a guy named Crispin Glover who came across as an actual raving lunatic in this movie. He went from normal to completely unhinged and back all the time. He really helped set a wild tone in this movie.  

I dug Willard. And I found this reboot to be waaaay better than the original which honestly surprised me. I like old horrors from the 70's and thought it was a great classic, but this one blew it out of the water.

Worth Watching?

I think so yeah. It's not your typical horror movie but that's what I liked most about it. It was unexpectedly unique and bloody to boot.

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