Just your typical “8-year-old-boy-with-heart-condition meets highly-intelligent-killer-rat and wreaks havoc on a small California town” story.
This sequel to Willard (1971) is probably best known for its theme song (a stirring love ballad sung to the titular rat which was a hit for 14-year-old Michael Jackson), as few horror aficionados have much time for its unconvincing blend of gore and gushing sentimentality.
Yet it’s a polished piece of work, with director Phil Karlson exercising the restraint he brought to his 1950s crime films, while the experience of 150-plus features is readily apparent in the atmospheric photography of Russell Metty (shooting his penultimate picture).
Lee Harcourt Montgomery is fine as the kid sheltering the rodent hordes, and Joseph Campanella business-like as the pursuing cop who discovers who is leading a pack of killer rats.
Richard Van Fleet