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Where's the pied piper of Hamelin when you really need him?
on October 15, 2007
Whenever you have dachshunds dressed up in rat costumes, get ready for the good times to roll. But wait - there's more. What if I told you that the great Scatman Crothers puts in a special guest appearance, too? I'm totally there, dude. I don't care how cheesy this movie is, I enjoyed it. I'm not saying Deadly Eyes is a great film, but I don't think it's as bad as a lot of horror fans say it is. Most of the time, the giant "rats" look pretty impressive to me, and heaven knows there are plenty of them on hand whenever they attack. I don't have any complaints about the gore quotient, either. It's not excessively gory - it's not like you see rats disemboweling people - but I think your average viewer will be more than satisfied by the sight of dozens of rats feeding on bloody victims. Heck, just the thought of seeing a rat pop out of nowhere will have many a person squirming. I also have to say that the film earns some bonus points in my book for a gutsy decision to make the first victim an innocent little toddler.
So what turns your basic sewer rat into a dog-sized carnivore? In this case, it's a huge supply of tainted, steroid-riddled grain already teeming with rats. Kelly Leonard (Sara Botsford), a local health inspector, justifiably orders the lot destroyed, but that just unleashes all of the giant hungry rats and puts them on a collision course with the human population. The first victims are a baby and her pretty irresponsible teenaged sister, followed by an old man, and then a field inspector. (Oddly enough, the first three deaths aren't discovered for some time, which is especially odd given the fact that the dead teenager's pot-smoking, beer-drinking juvenile delinquent friends were supposedly coming back to the house after making a burger run on the night she was killed). Kelly's boss and the city's penny-pinching mayor are not happy with her, as they put politics above public safety, but she at least finds an ally in her new beau, school teacher Paul Harris (Sam Groom). For a newly-divorced man, Harris is doing pretty well for himself; forget about Kelly (I certainly would), this guy's got the head cheerleader (Lisa Langlois) literally throwing herself at him.
Back to the rats. These super-vermin mean business, quickly running amuck in the big city, chewing through anything that gets in their way. The payoff for all of this comes in the form of two great scenes toward the end. The first one takes place in a crowded movie theatre, resulting in some delightful carnage; then, in the second one, the sleazy mayor gets a well-deserved comeuppance for putting his money and pride over the safety of his citizens.
I admit the film is far from perfect. Aside from the fact that the first victims are never mentioned again (not even by the older girl's classmates)in the days following their grisly deaths, you also have Harris spending the night with Kelly (on the first date, no less) when we know he has already picked up his son for the weekend, leaving us to wonder if the kid had to spend the night alone wondering where the heck his father was. These are little things, though; what matters are the rats, and they (even if they are just dogs in disguise) really deliver, as far as I'm concerned. One can only hope that Deadly Eyes eventually claims the just reward of a DVD release. This is rat `roid rage at its finest.