Monday, December 18, 2017

'80s Class: Of Unknown Origin

Spend the Holidays with the ones you love- just not rats!  Today's Film is Of Unknown Origin, a 1983 Thriller about one man, one rat and the house they both live in.  Before he was Robocop, Peter Weller was a yuppie trying to rid his house of a pest.  It comes to you from the Director of Cobra and Rambo: First Blood- Part 2.  Yeah, I was surprised too.  The whole thing is mostly just an excuse for Weller to slowly go crazy in pursuit of the tiny creature.  This was his first big Role and it is easy to see why this lead to more.  This is also the Debut Feature of someone you wouldn't expect- but I won't SPOIL that just yet.  To see the battle between man and beast, read on...
A big businessman is living the life.  He's happily-married, raising a kid and has a great job.
However, he loses 'the big contract' (to the villain from Twin Peaks!).  He can still show them how great he is though.
When the Wife and Son leave to spend 2 weeks with her Parents (as one does!), he's left alone.

Well, not quite.  A big, old rat has moved in!
While he tries to work for a big Client, he is constantly being egged on by the Maintenance Man for the Building who keeps telling him about how dangerous and smart Rats can be.

You are not helping!
While he tries to catch the rat, his family is less and less in contact with him.

Will he keep his sanity?
Things are always darkest before the dawn.  That's what you have to tell yourself when you flood the basement.
Will any of his plans work?  Will the rat get him?  Will he kill the rat?!?
That...that might do the trick.
After a tense battle, Weller's character kills the rat!  He goes outside to celebrate right as his family returns.  That sure wrapped up conveniently!  The End.
A good, tense Thriller.  The Story is simply about a man trying to kill a rat in his House.  That's it.  In spite of that, the Film totally works!  The late Director makes the Film feel amazingly-tense without cheating.  It isn't a super-rat.  It isn't a mutant rat.  It's just a rat.  It happens to be a mean, pissed-off lady rat, but a rat nonetheless.  Weller really shines here, going from a man with no worries to a warrior of his own domain in 90 minutes.  It would be easy to cheat in this regard too, but they still don't.  He's not a perfect killing machine.  He's not a badass.  With no special skills, he 'learns on the job' and makes mistakes that most of us would.  Incidentally, this is also based on a Book, so more of those to do (assuming I do another one in the next 2 years).  The way they show the rat moving around the residence is quite neat, giving you unpleasant close-ups and angles right out of Evil Dead II (which wouldn't be made for 4 years).  If you didn't have an issue with sewer rats, you sure will after this.  The whole thing manages to be tense and effective with so little.  It isn't the flashiest Film from the 1980s, but it deserves more attention than it gets.  If nothing else, it gave us her...
Next time, I take one last look at Andy Sidaris' Film Library in 2017.  The more things change, the more they constantly show boobs.  Stay tuned...

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