Bruce Davison as Willard Stiles
Elsa Lanchester as Henrietta Stiles
Ernest Borgnine as Al Martin
In the film we are introduced right off the bat to Willard Stiles, a meek and socially inept young man who is bullied by everyone in his life – from his crazy mother who summons him by screaming and ringing a bell to express her disappointment in him and to demand he work every moment to keep up with the endless repairs on their dilapidated mansion, to his mothers over bearing friends who want to tell him how he should live his life, to his boss, a despicable man who stole Willard’s families business from Willard’s father, keeps Willard in a low level position, berates him in front of his coworkers, piles the work of two people on him and goes out of his way to humiliate him. Willard just can’t seem to catch a break in any aspect of his life.
Until he by chance forms a relationship with some rats living in his backyard. Defying his mother’s demands that he kill them, Willard starts taking care of and training his cute fuzzy rodent friends and forms an especially close bond with a small white rat he names Socrates.
Willard’s rat population grows from breeding and from other rats finding there way to the colony, and Willard forms a more complicated relationship with a large brown rat named Ben who clearly wants to be favored like Socrates is.
Life starts looking up for Willard as he has close friend for the first time in his life, Socrates. Willard soon takes some petty revenge on his tyrant boss by ruining a party with the help of his rodent companions, and he and the new office girl seem to hit it off.
But when Willard’s mother dies leaving him with a massive amount of debt, Willard starts using the rats for darker purposes while keeping Socrates with him at all times for comfort. This results in tragedy by the wrath of Ben and loss of control over the rat colony.
Will Willard survive the wrath of Ben or will he fall victim to the rat’s teeth and claws? You will have to watch and see.
Okay so the movie’s corny, the acting at times leaves a bit to be desired, the story has plot holes and the clearly domesticated rats inspire an urge to cuddle more than a sense of fear. Still I have to say I enjoyed this movie. I felt for the characters whether rat or human and I was pulled into the story while watching it. So all in all I give the movie 6 out of 10 points, and would recommend it to any fan of ‘B’grade horror flicks who want something fun if not brilliant.What could be more beautiful than a relationship between a man and his rats?