Willard excellent modern horror

Scared of rats? Crispin Glover isn’t.

At least this is the impression he gives in his new movie Willard. Glover, best known for his role as George McFly in Back to the Future, Glover plays Willard Stiles, plays the lead role in Willard, a remake of the 1971 horror flick by the same name.

Willard opened March 14 to a meager $4 million (approx.) opening weekend (www.imdb.com). However, this can be partially attributed to its somewhat limited release. Willard opened on 1, 761 screens, compared to the 2801 screens that showed Bringing Down the House during its $31 million (approx.) March 7 opening weekend (www.imdb.com).

The movie begins with Willard living with his decrepit, over-bearing mother (Jackie Burroughs), whom he cares for. Willard has never had any friends and has no one other than his mother. He works, very unhappily, at the manufacturing company that his father started with a man named Frank Martin, lovingly played by R. Lee Ermey. After Willard’s father’s death Martin took over the company, but had to promise that Willard would always have a job at the company, as long as Willard’s mother was still alive.

Willard is assigned by his mother to exterminate the rats in the basement of their house. However, after he finally catches one on glue-paper, he can’t bring himself to finish the job. Willard soon finds that he has an innate ability to command the rats that live in his basement to do whatever he wishes, from eating tires to murder.

The movie takes an expected plot twist after Willard’s mother dies, and Willard vows revenge on Mr. Martin, and I’ll leave it at that. You’ll have to see it.

As a horror movie alone, Willard, a highly stylized take on the genre, does a great job. The rats, though not as shocking as a girl crawling out of a TV screen, are inherently scary, especially in their massive numbers seen in Willard. Imagine your kitchen. Now, imagine every inch of floor, table, counter and cabinet space crawling with brown rats gnawing at anything they can get their little (sometimes not-so-little) hands on. Willard’s scare-methods are a throw-back to the older days of film-making when the mere thought of a rat would been enough to scare the pants off of anyone. Director Glen Morgan uses sheer disgust and good old-fashioned suspense to create Willard’s thrills.

Willard does have some short-comings in the scares department. Though the rats are scary, especially the cat-sized Ben, they don’t quite live up to the scares of recent horror movies. However, this isn’t just a horror film by any means. It is also a story of Willard and his relationship with the rats.

The acting is the strongest point of Willard, especially that of Crispin Glover, who seems to be the perfect man for this role. Glover brings his inherent eeriness to the equally eerie Willard. Glover’s performance as the na