Monday, 17 December 2007

Zombie Film Review: Part three of an unexpectedly revived series (though that said - not really about zombies. I don't think)

Name? Rats: Night Of Terror

'Plot'? In a post-apocalyptic future, some bikers, who may or may not be the last human beings alive (if this is the case they're breathtakingly blase about it) turn up at an illogically vast bunker full of food, water, and 'every type of plant'. But gasp! There are freshly killed corpses here. As it turns out they've been done for by a bunch of passive-aggressive rats. Our heroes dick around, meeting the rat 'menace' with a volatile cocktail of mixture of unreasonale cowardice and demented overreaction, best embodied in a scene where the bearded hero/group leader immolates one of his men with a flame-thrower because the flunky has, like, two rats on him. The rats dick around spectacularly, as despite the assertion that they hate human beings, they're generally content to squeak away merrily and not bother people who are actually touching them. Oh yeah, the zombie thing. Well after being bitten in manner that could only be described as 'clearly non-fatal', several of the characters swiftly die. And then wander around for a bit in a quasi-zombified state. One of them inflates to a vast size then explodes with a loud booming noise to reveal several fully grown furry chums inside him, so apparently he's been infected with, um, rat..? Oh yeah, and at the end the two survivors are rescued by humanoid figures in biohazard suits, who turn out to be giant rats. Disturbingly I saw it coming.

How irritating? The token bad apple in the biker gang - a chap by the name of Duke - seems utterly oblivious to the danger, and constant attempts to sabotage the group's every action for his own glorifiaction, despite the fact this vastly increases the chances he might die. Which indeed, he does. He's basically a woefully inadequate replacement for a villain with a personality. The most irritating thing, of course, is that the film refuses to acknowledge how shit the rats are at, er, well to be honest, everything.

Most ridiculous moment? The ending deserves a look in, but actually the most insane scene is rodent-free. In order to shoehorn in the obligatory copulation, early on we see two of the characters having really violent, noisy sex. Only they're doing it in a brightly lit room, with the rest of the gang sitting a metre or so away, reading books and whatnot. Futuristic attitudes towards love-making? Nope: the rest do get pissed off, it's just it takes them about two minutes of the world's loudest sex right in front of their faces before any of them notice anything's amiss.

Most Glaring Plot Flaw? The rats don't eat anything besides humans, which means they would quite blatantly have starved to death years previously. Also they're shit.

How cheap? The main problem is plenty of rats, no animal trainer. The critters are so passive they actually have to be dropped on top of the heroes in order to give the vaguest semblance of attacking (I think it's safe to say a LOT of rats were harmed in the making of this film). That, or a degree of, er, directorial trickery is needed. The best comes near the end, when the rats are smashing down a door. On the heroes' side the frame is reverbrating as if from a hail of hammer blows from Thor himself. Then the camera cuts to the other side and you see some rats, milling around casually in the general vicinty of the door, but not actually touching it.

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