Published Mar 01, 2003If you are one of those people, as I am, who believes that Crispin Glover is just about the most fascinating and pleasurable actor to watch onscreen, Willard is the movie for you. It's a Crispin Glover vehicle through and through, using his extreme weirdness to make the most out of the otherwise cut-rate horror plot devices.
Willard (Glover) is a lonely and isolated man who slogs away at the company his dead father built, suffering endless humiliations at the hands of his boss, and lives with his dying mother in the crumbling family mansion. When rats invade the basement of his home, Willard seeks solace in their company and begins to train them to enact his wild revenge fantasies. Of course, Willard's control over his rat army eventually begins to break down, as does his tenuous grasp on sanity.
It's not a particularly scary or suspenseful horror film, although the sheer volume of rats involved does make for some squirm-inducing scenes. The plot is silly and predictable, but at least the dialogue is more fun than the usual b-movie fare and is greatly enhanced by the bizarre delivery of Glover and, notably, Canadian actress Jackie Burrows, who as Willard's mother effortlessly matches Glover's strangeness.