Written and Directed by Vladimir Uglichin
Ahead of his nuclear speech in Russia, American Senator John Perryman has a dream about rats. Believing it to be some sign or message from God, he ditches his rehearsed speech to spout a warning to the Russian officials that if they continue to be sly, greedy and corrupt, handling dirty money, they will turn into rats. Of course, everyone laughs John out of the room but when bent politicians start to turn into rodents, John becomes the most wanted man in both Russia and the USA with the government desperate for an antidote.
Creature feature comedy RATPOCALYPSE is a barrel of laughs as only a plot line like this could create. Oozing the budget style that we’ve grown to love from such studios as Asylum, the film manages to bag the handsome, never-seems-to-age Casper Van Dien as its prophet Senator John Perryman. John is a kind hearted man who’s clearly not comfortable with the life he leads, livng in a lavish home with gifts of money arriving monthly. After his nightmare of the rats crawling up his body on a stormy night, John knows he must do the right thing and encourage change amongst his peers regardless of how silly it may sound. That doesn’t play out too well for the Senator when both Russia and USA suspect he is having a nervous breakdown and decide to have him sectioned.
Van Dien’s real-life wife Catherine Oxenberg plays the Senator’s money hungry spouse who thinks little of leaving him stranded in Russia after John’s speech makes him a laughing stock of the Russian government. Fortunately for John, he finds help in the form of Polina and her prostitute friend Anna, the latter of whom is more than happy to aid John when she discovers there could be money in it for herself.
The highlight of the movie, as in most films of this genre, has to be the creature effects. Despite the budget style approach to the film, the CGI rat transformations are pretty impressive. Quite a step up from the usual cheap CGI affair, the CGI rat politicians retain an element of their human personality and appearance whilst convincing as a rodent-human hybrid. The interactions between the rats and their human spouses are often the most comedic moments of the film with the rat husbands arguing with their concerned wives over the best way to deal with their new, er… features.
The screenplay of RATPOCALYPSE isn’t the film’s strongest point and ends on a sudden note that feels unfinished in many ways. Most of the movie is taken up by a cat and mouse chase with Perryman on the run from the authorities who are eager to secure a physical antidote despite Perryman’s repeated cries that only a lifestyle change can fix the situation. The film plays out to see Perryman’s relationship evolve with Polina (Victoria Summer) who seems to be the only one who believes in the Senator. Will her support be enough for Perryman to evade the government and police?
Whilst it might not be the zaniest creature feature out there, RATPOCALYPSE certainly has its fun moments that will please genre fans especially with its higher calibre of performances than we’re used to.
A light-hearted slice of rodent-themed entertainment.