Successful Manhattan executive Bart Hughes (Peter Weller in his first leading role) stays behind to work in his renovated New York brownstone when his beautiful wife (Shannon Teed) and young son (Leif Anderson) head away on vacation to Vermont for a fortnight.
Unfortunately, the beautiful brownstone has been invaded by a clawing, chewing, heavy breathing presence. Well, ok – it’s a rat. What do you want for five bucks?! To be fair, it’s no ordinary little rodent, but a humongous, beady-eyed, beagle-sized cousin of the shark from Jaws or Cujo the dog.
Calm and rational Bart is driven to the brink of obsession and madness trying to kill this rat – whether attempting to club the beast with his hardback edition of Moby Dick or suiting up for the Final Showdown in hockey pads, with a huge spiked mallet like some psychedelic Rat Warrior. He succeeds in destroying most of his house in the process.
The rat chews holes in the dishwasher cable, floods the kitchen, eats the mail, punches holes in everything from the feather pillows in the bedroom to the cereal boxes in the kitchen and eventually kills the cat, eats the phone lines, and severs the electric cables plunging the domestic battlefield into darkness.
To their credit, writer Brian Taggert and director George P. Cosmatos see the humour in this and play to it. And the technical effects are superb.
Jennifer Dale is fine as Lorrie, the faithful secretary who yearns to be more; Lawrence Dane is believable as Eliot Riverton, the corporate president anxious to put his young hotshot to a stress test; and Louis Del Grande is very good as Clete the handyman with all the frightening facts about rats.
Louis Del Grande
George P. Cosmatos