The Rats, however, aims for a much lower target. Instead of disease and contamination possibilities, the movie involves a violent colony of genetically altered rodents overrunning a Manhattan department store on a rampage to terrorize the entire city. Why would a colony of rats want to seize the population of New York? The movie does not have this answer, so it continually features scenes of the rats scurrying through pipes, sewers, subways, stores, and just about every else. Occasionally, an innocent bystander gets in their way, and they quickly become rodent food.
It's important to suspend disbelief before entering any movie theater, but The Rats asks for a little too much suspension; in order to buy this movie, you'd have to abandon sanity altogether. In the film, investigator Jack Carver (Vincent Spano) knows a lot about rodents. He's the only person in the city who can discover how the rodents became killers and stop their trail of victims before it's too late. Yet, he leads two others into a condemned building and travels down a thin, rotting ladder, straight into the rats' lair. They're lucky to make it out alive. I'm sure glad he's not leading my way...
Also, even if you accept the genetics mumbo-jumbo as a suitable reason for the rodents to feed on human flesh, the rats just don't look like real animals. It's evident the victims are wearing body suits dangling with plastic rats, which themselves look like toys found at the dollar store. And don't even get me started with the rat inside the toilet! Let's just say The Rats won't win the Academy Award for best visual effects.
At first glance, The Rats appears like a horror film, but don't be deceived. The cheesiness (pun intended) of the movie actually makes for a rather comical experience. The film utilizes just about every cliché in the book, from obligatory children to an unlikely romance. The pathetic script fails to inject a single ounce of originality into the stereotypical characters. In fact, since the rodents themselves are far more interesting than the inane characters, don't be surprised if you find yourself rooting for the rats!
Run time: 94 mins
In Theaters: Tuesday 17th September 2002
Contactmusic.com: 1 / 5
IMDB: 5.0 / 10
Director: John Lafia
Producer: Bob Roe
Screenwriter: Frank Deasy
Starring: Mädchen Amick as Susan Costello, Vincent Spano as Jack Carver, Shawn Michael Howard as Ty, Daveigh Chase as Amy Costello, David Fonteno as Ray Jarrett, Sheila McCarthy as Miss Paige, Elisa Moolecherry as Nyla, Joe Pingue as Karl, Kathryn Winslow as Queen, Kim Poirier as Jay