Willard (1971)

Reviewed By Rob Gonsalves
Posted 04/03/07 13:06:08

"A rare case where the remake is better."
3 stars (Just Average)

This was a huge hit in its day. I can't see why (other than the generational conflict between its young, put-upon hero and his tormenting elders).

Bruce Davison does give a defining performance as the cringing Willard Stiles, a mama's boy (Elsa Lanchester plays Mama) abused at his office job by his scummy boss (Ernest Borgnine), who forced Willard's dad out of the company.

Willard befriends a couple of rats, Socrates and Ben, and eventually trains them to wreak minor havoc (sort of like Project Mayhem with rodents) that escalates into murder. The movie's main problem is that it's really little more than a crudely directed revenge thriller, and even the talked-about Borgnine-meets-rats scene is laughably unconvincing.

The 2002 remake is far, far superior.

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