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WILLARD


A mama’s boy who’s been humiliated by his boss gets revenge with a little help from his rodent friends.


CAST: Crispin Glover, R. Lee Ermey, Laura Elena Harring, Jackie Burroughs

DIRECTOR: Glen Morgan

"As Willard Stiles, a moistly quivering loser who makes friends with the rats in his basement because they're the only creatures around who don't threaten his self-esteem, Glover is doing what should be a camp goof on Norman Bates. He plays it straight and intense, though, building each scene to an elegant Gloverish crescendo of fear and loathing and operatic hysteria…It's still a fairly ham-handed revenge-of-the-nerd horror fable, but you don't go to a movie like ‘Willard’ for subtlety. You go to be skeeved out by rats, rats, and more rats, and I'm tempted to say that ‘Willard’ does a fairly rat-tastic job of it. The squirmy critters slither over floors, counter tops, and live bodies (including those of a few unfortunate house pets), scurrying and sliding with that skin-crawly symmetry that makes them seem so...purposeful… It's about time Glover starred in a movie where he wasn't the only one gnawing the scenery." --Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly

" ‘Willard’ is a creepy and campy remake of the 1971 demi-classic starring Crispin Glover in the part he was born to play, a nerdy young loner who bonds with the rats in his basement…This PG-13 outing may disappoint gorehounds who have come to expect horror films that show more than they suggest. But for the rest of us, this highly stylized flick (with a quite tiny cast) qualifies as a guilty pleasure where you can debate afterwards what's more creepy: Glover's Willard, who is often shown in excruciating closeup, or his murderously swarming pals…‘Willard’ delivers good value for the money--don't be surprised to find yourself checking the theater for scurrying around your feet." --Lou Lumenick, The New York Post

"During the movie the character throws two tantrums, and in each Mr. Glover's voice rises to a shrill babyish cry that goes beyond hysteria into an eerie simian shriek. Except in those moments when he dotingly caresses his favorite rat, the adorably devoted Socrates, the actor doesn't ask you to take Willard's side. His performance is raving goofball caricature…The worst flaw of ‘Willard’ is a clunky tone-deaf screenplay…Barely a line flies by that doesn't land with a wooden thud. The grinding dialogue sabotages any authentic feeling that the film might have hoped to generate…The movie reaches its dramatic peak very early with a scene in which Willard packs his rat army into briefcases for a trip to the suburbs and a sneak attack on the tires of his boss's new Mercedes. In that moment, the movie realizes its comic-demonic potential. From there it's all downhill." --Stephen Holden, The New York Times

"In this remake of the 1971 cult classic, the nation's weirdest, loopiest actor blends so easily with rats--the furry, pink-tailed anti-stars of this nutty flick--it's beyond uncanny. It's a reunion… nothing will creep you out as much as the human star of this show. When the credits come up, you don't feel as if the movie ended, so much as you just closed the door to his house and left him in there." --Desson Howe, The Washington Post

"The new film looks better, moves faster and is more artistic than the original, but it doesn't work as a horror film--and since it is a horror film, that's fatal. It has attitude and a look, but the rats aren't scary…The best thing in the movie is Crispin Glover's performance. He affects dark, sunken eyes, and a slight stoop, and is very pale, and has one of those haircuts that shouts out: Look how gothic and miserable I am. There is real wit in the performance…the rats simply sweep across the screen in an animated tide, and instead of thinking, Eek! Rats!, we're thinking about how it was done. That's not what you're supposed to be thinking about during a horror movie." --Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

"Aiming at a broad, youthful market, New Line's writer-director Glen Morgan may well have figured that today's audiences could not be expected to take seriously the premise that a disturbed young man could actually speak to and be understood by rodents and decided that it would be better to play the premise for laughs and for special effects involving spectacular, relentless attacks by legions of rats. Morgan's approach may prove to be right at the box office, but the result is a far less emotionally engaging film than the original…The new Willard is Crispin Glover, a gifted, high-intensity actor whose handsome but distinctive sharp features easily photograph as weird or dangerous. In an instant this Willard reads as a crazy with no place to go but crazier…For all its pretense, it's just another energetic, atmospheric horror-comedy designed for mall cinemas before moving on to a video afterlife." --Kevin Thomas, The Los Angeles Times