Friday, January 17, 2014

[Mini Review] Of Unknown Origin (1983)

DIRECTED BY: George P. Cosmatos
STARRING: Peter Weller, Jennifer Dale, Lawrence Dane, Shannon Tweed
RATING: 4/5 stars

Mild mannered Bart Hughes (Peter Weller) is one of the many competitors in the corporate rat race. The finish line appears well in sight but his attention is drastically diverted when he becomes obsessed with a rat infestation in his New York City town-house which he proudly and recently rebuilt. It soon becomes clear that Bart is dealing with a rat of considerable size and intelligence; what unfolds is an interspecies duel.

This was great! Its psychological horror mixed with elements of a creature feature. The camera work is fantastic; all the shot from the rat's point of view are subtle and effective indications of its intelligence and sinister nature. And much like the classic Jaws, the glimpses we do get of the rodent invader are pretty horrifying. The plot overall is very straight forward and one that pulls us deeper and deeper into a very nightmarish situation.

The film makes an interesting statement about people's obsession with material possessions and the value we place on them. At first Bart appears to be more annoyed that his beautiful home is being torn up than anything else, but as the film progresses his attitude and mindset changes dramatically, he begins to learn what's really important in life.

Apart from RoboCop I haven't seen Peter Weller in anything really that memorable. He does a good job in this film. It did feel very odd at first seeing him play a very straight laced and human character but overall I enjoyed his performance very much.

Of Unknown Origin is a hidden gem in the horror genre, one that I'm glad to have discovered. It's reportedly Stephen King's favourite film of all time which to me says a lot.

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