WILLARD (2003) Reviews and overview

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‘From small things… comes great power.’

Willard is a 2003 horror feature film loosely based on the novel Ratman’s Notebooks by Stephen Gilbert and a remake of the 1971 film Willard. Rather than a remake, the producers stated that this movie was a re-working of the themes from the original, with a stronger focus on suspense.

In the US, Scream Factory released Willard on Blu-ray on February 26, 2019.

  • Audio commentary with writer/director Glen Morgan and director of photography Robert McLachlan (new)
  • Audio commentary with animal trainers Mark Harden and David Allsberry of Animals For Hollywood (new)
  • Audio commentary with writer/director Glen Morgan, producer James Wong, and actors Crispin Glover and R. Lee Ermey
  • Interview with writer/director Glen Morgan (new)
  • Interview with director of photography Robert McLachlan (new)
  • The Rat Trainer’s Notebook – Behind-the-scenes footage from Animals For Hollywood (new)
  • The Year of the Rat – Making of documentary
  • Rat People: Friends or Foes? – documentary featurette
  • Deleted/alternate scenes with optional commentary
  • “Ben” music video by Crispin Hellion Glover with optional commentary
  • EPK interviews and behind-the-scenes footage
  • Theatrical trailer
  • TV spots


Willard Stiles (Crispin Glover) is a social misfit taking care of his ill and fragile but verbally abusive mother Henrietta (Jackie Burroughs) in a musty old mansion that is also home to a colony of rats. Willard finds himself constantly humiliated in front of his co-workers by his cruel boss, Frank Martin (R. Lee Ermey), a vicious man who assumed control of the company of Willard’s father upon his death, and whose professional interest in Willard extends to a personal financial one. A co-worker, Cathryn (Laura Elena Harring), has sympathy for the quirky Willard. Cathryn becomes Willard’s friend and love interest.

Willard quickly becomes obsessed with his friendship with a rat he names Socrates. Willard then begins to train and befriend the other rats including an extra large one he calls Ben. Ben begins to assume a position of “leadership” among the other rats, while Socrates remains Willard’s favourite. Willard’s mother panics when she overhears the rats and later dies by falling down the stairs of the basement.

Willard learns soon afterward that payments on the house have fallen far behind, and that the bank will likely foreclose upon the property. Willard then says that Socrates is all he has left.

Cathryn stops by and gives Willard a cat named Sculley, he sets the cat inside and leaves. The rats, led by Ben, attack and kill Sculley. When Willard arrives home he notices Ben watching him evilly; Willard begins to distrust Ben…

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