Willard Review

willard-movie-poster-1971
It’s time for one of those films that you know will be bad from the start. It has Rats in it which is a problem since it’ll lead to animal violence and the main character is super whiny. You can barely ask for a worse combination to start the film off with. Add in the gratuitous violence and you’ve got yourself another 0 to roll with. There are no redeeming factors in this movie so we may as well just jump in.

The film starts off with Willy heading home when he’s cornered by his boss (Al) and a co-worker. They mock Willy for a while because he forgot his papers once again and then they drive off. Willy is part of the sales department so he has to get the orders or the company can’t earn money. He doesn’t seem to care though because he only gives everything 10% of his effort. Any more than that and he would actually have to try. His father used to own the company but Al helped expedite his death with business pressure and took over the company. Willy’s family says that he should try to take the company back, but that doesn’t seem possible in his current state. If anything, it seems like he may be getting fired if he doesn’t clean up his act. Willy decides to start taking care of some rats in his spare time. Not out of any noble gestures, but so that he can satisfy his inferiority complex by being superior to something, in this case the rats. Willy goes on his power trips right away and edges closer to insanity. Will he live through this?

In case you couldn’t tell, I didn’t like Willard from the beginning. I never found him sympathetic because a lot of his failings on the job seem like his fault. Even if he has a lot of work I want to see him put an effort into finishing it. If he was truly overworked, I would have liked for the film to give some evidence on that. We know Al doesn’t like Willard, but we don’t know that the work was too much for the guy. He didn’t handle any of the situations well either. The party scene is a good example of this as he just leaves instead of talking things out with the guests. They didn’t seem all that reasonable, but Willard basically just lets everyone walk all over him until he snaps. He is all about extremes with no middle ground. Willard also takes his frustration out on the rats which essentially makes him no better than Al. It’d be nice if he could see that, but that wasn’t in the cards. Willy is essentially a bully as well so there’s no rooting for the guy. He murders and yells at rats just to satisfy his ego.

I was actively rooting against him, but the problem is that there aren’t really any characters to root for. The main heroine is the only decent character and even she can be a bit odd. Buying Willard a cat out of the blue is not something you do. I think it’s fair to say that a lot of people aren’t looking for a pet and couldn’t just accept such a responsibility out of the blue. Still, she meant well at least so I’m glad the film let her go without getting eaten or something.

Al’s the main villain and he’s a pretty mean guy. He likes humiliating Willard and getting the last laugh. He pushes the main character around for quite a while until plot hax sets in. Willard breaks in with his rat army which is cool and all, but Al could have just pushed through the door and ran off. The rats could chase him, but it would be tough to down the guy. Instead…he just stands still and begs for mercy. It works well if this was Willard’s big delusion as he finally gets his revenge on everyone, but it’s hard to see it all going so smoothly.

Then Willard’s neighbors turn out to be burglars who like stealing everything. It was a pretty intriguing subplot and she still beat a lot of the other characters. In another subplot, Willard wants to keep his mansion as a matter of pride even though he isn’t earning enough money to support it. Now this is just selfish as he goes around asking for money when there is no way he will be able to return it. He should have just gotten a smaller house and a lot of the issues here could have been resolved.

As for other factors that doomed the movie, there is a considerable amount of animal violence here. Rats are smashed, stabbed, and drowned. It’s unfortunate that Rats are always used for all of these vile experiments. Even in real life everything is tested on them and I somehow don’t think they were treated well in this film. I try not to think about those aspects while watching, but the actor does throw quite a few of them around at various points and since they were using live rats throughout the film, it just doesn’t bode well. The whole film is just very distasteful and mean spirited. Even the Rats banding together and murdering everyone by the end isn’t fun because it’s just continuing the mean cycle. Sure, they got their revenge through more violent scenes, but where’s the happy ending? I’m glad Willard didn’t get a happy ending since he didn’t deserve one, but after a while there’s just no high road for the film to take.

Overall, another issue is that this film also feels like it goes on forever. It just keeps on going and going. Since I didn’t like the characters, that only made the feeling even worse. I don’t know what else to say except that you should absolutely avoid this film. Even as far as horror films go, this one is quite terrible. It’s only good for taking a nap since it’ll put you to sleep. I suppose it can be good as a coaster, but then you’d have to see the cover every time you reach for your drink and that would get brutal very quickly. So, you’re better off just staying out of this film’s way and forgetting that it exists.

Overall 0/10

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