Crispin Glover plays the title role in WILLARD as Willard Stiles, a pale, reclusive introvert who wears his dead father’s old suits and lives with his demented, dying mother in a rotting gothic home. Willard works for Mr. Martin (R. Lee Ermey) of Martin & Stiles Metals, as a clerk in a 1950s style boiler room office with several other tired looking employees. Willard is despised by Martin, screamed at daily and told that he will lose his job the moment his mother dies.
One evening, his horrible looking mother (played terrifyingly by Jackie Burroughs) tells him there are rats in the cellar. . . she can smell them. At first, Willard, who alternately loves, fears and despises his mother, tries to kill the rats, but, after catching one white rat alive, he decides to be a caretaker of the rodents, even naming the white one Socrates, and a huge black one, Ben.
Willard is rewarded by the rats for his kindness. They follow his verbal commands, all under the watchful beady eyes of Ben and Socrates.
As his mother grows weaker and the work environment grows more hostile (except for one temp who is kind to Willard), Willard grows more attached to Socrates, even letting the vermin sleep next to him on the pillow. Ben, however, is not invited and a small rift appears in the relationship.
After a particularly nasty run-in with Mr. Martin, Willard directs the rats to get into some traveling bags. He takes them to Martin’s home, where they chew the tires on the boss’ new Mercedes! Friendship with Socrates, a nice girl at work and revenge are the catalysts for Willard’s happiness, giving him new purpose in life.
But then, his mother dies. . . .
The movie WILLARD, a remake of a 1971 film, pulls no punches. From the opening credits to the fade to black, Willard is designed as a comic-book-style movie. Dark, creepy interiors combined with wide-angle lenses give Glover a surreal “Ratman-esque” feel. His mother is scarier than any of the rats, and adds a sick humor to the dark, rotting environment, by insisting she call him “Clark” because it’s manlier than “Willard.”
Designed for a teenage audience, Willard is creepy enough to draw the children, yet should be avoided for its violence, foul language and horrible depictions of death by rat-bite. Glover was charming as “McFly” in the BACK TO THE FUTURE series, but is pale, sickly and demented to the max as Willard.
Unless you love horror films or rats, WILLARD is one creepy ride you might want to avoid.
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Robert Shaye & Michael Lynne
New Line Cinema
116 North Robertson Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Phone: (310) 854-5811
Fax: (310) 659-3568
(H, L, VV, S, M) Dark humanist worldview of a friendless young man who goes mad with revenge after befriending some very intelligent rats; about six obscenities, including one "f" word, and two strong profanities; scary, creepy violence including people attacked by rats, rats bite people and rat killed with rod; allusion of an affair and man views Internet porn before getting killed; no nudity shown; no alcohol; no smoking; and, bullying and revenge.