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Killer Rats

Ok…first of all, real rats don’t splat in such a wide arc when you casually let a book fall from your hands onto them. Not even if you’re gentle giant Ron Perlman. Wait a minute – they do if you’ve force fed them a lot of pudding. Maybe that’s in the Deleted Scenes section of the disc, but I’m ahead of myself; I’ll get back to you.

“Killer Rats” has us following Samantha, a young Naomi Watts lookalike, on her first day in Rehab. Well the film calls it Rehab, but I could easily sit there and count most of the characters from “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” For some bizarre reason, everyone here is crazy except, of course, our hottie heroine and her new hunky inmate friend, Johnny Falls. That’s right, Johnny Falls (God, I love saying that name). “Security’s tight here,” Johnny Falls tells her without a hint of sarcasm. So then why are people able to easily leave their rooms after curfew, or break into the candy machine by using just a Fonzie-styled tap on the side? Wait a minute – maybe it’s because this institution has only one physician, one nurse, and one orderly, and they’re all on duty (and in the same clothes) 24 hours a day. I’ll get back to you.

That’s pretty much it, at least for the first half hour, because that’s when the first hints at a plot actually appear – long after I stopped caring.

Of course, the main concern here are the titular “killer rats” which have glowing red eyes, presumably so we can tell them apart from all the other, normal, rats that don’t appear in the film. For some bizarre reason, no one who sees them seems to care that their eyes are the color of my ass cheeks after Mrs. Taco and I get done playing a round of “Jungle Woman meets Human Bongo Boy” but, then again, they are crazy, after all.

I gotta wonder why the producers of this film didn’t just save themselves the effects money and make normal rats that happen to kill people? That would have been scarier and more believable. If I ever see a rat with glowing red eyes, that’ll be one starving rodent, ’cause I’m not sticking around long enough to see if it’s a killer or not.

These rats are conveniently badass, however. They apparently work in platoons: One group will cut the power supply (not getting electrocuted even though they’re standing on metal and chewing through wires), then another group will surround the target and attack. I wish the movie had shown the pre-strike preparations, though. I would have loved to have seen the little rat general dispatching orders to his squad leaders. Wait a minute – maybe that’s the reason for the glowing red eyes, so the rats can see in the dark! No…my bad..I think they already can see in the dark. I’ll get back to you.

The coolest ability these rats have is that, when they attack a victim, they turn into cartoon rats! Cool, huh? I think that’s because real rats (See Ron Perlman’s squishy pet above) die so easily, but a cartoon rat can only be killed by paint remover. Hey, I’ve seen “Roger Rabbit;” I know how these things work.

And speaking of Ron, I have a personal message for him:
Hi Ron. Listen, we here at HorrorWatch and, I’m sure, most horror fans in general, respect the hell outta you. We appreciate the hard work you’ve done in helping to make horror, sci-fi and fantasy films more accepted by mainstream audiences. Hell, because of you, I even own a copy of “Alien: Resurrection” and that’s something I’ve never before admitted in a public forum. Seriously though man, you need to start saying “no” sometimes. I know you have to eat, but stick with the “Hellboy” films for now, and start pumping gas in the interim. That’s more respectable than seeing you in this trash.

Pros: Wait a minute – I’ll get back to you.
Cons: Script. Acting. Effects. Hell, that pretty much covers it all, doesn’t it?
Review Rating: 1.5 out of 5 stars.

Killer Rats” (2003)
Also known as: “Rats”
90 Minutes; Canada
Rated R for violence/gore, language and brief sexuality.

Sara Downing (Samantha)
Bailey Chase (Johnny Falls)
Ron Perlman (Dr. William Winslow)
Directed by: Tibor Takács
Viewing Format: DVD

(Originally published on HorrorWatch)


About John Daily

John is a freelance writer, columnist and critic. His work has appeared in print, as well as on sites such as ScifiWatch and HorrorWatch (where he wrote under the complete meaningless moniker “Bloody Taco”). An archive of his film-related material is available at Currently, he can be found spouting his special brand of sarcastic nonsense at or Twitter (JohnNDaily).


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