We’re at war and we’re losing badly. In
this case, we’re not talking about ISIS (although the same is true of them).
Humanity is locked in a death-struggle with rats and the rodents have
out-matched us every step of the way. Everything about the dirty critters are
worse than you thought according to the experts in Morgan Spurlock’s horror
movie-documentary Rats (trailer here), which premieres
on the Discovery Channel this Saturday.
Apparently, today’s rats have evolved and
mutated even more than the X-Men, leaving them increasingly immune to most
rodenticides. Scientists know for a fact they are bigger, stronger, and more
adaptable than they were a century ago, because they have the rat archives to
In contrast to most of his films, the
ordinarily not so camera-shy Spurlock never appears in Rats, possibly because he was so creeped out. Instead, the face of
the film will be cigar-chomping exterminator Ed Sheehan, who is New York to the
bone. In between Spurlock’s globe-trotting segments, Sheehan tells us straight
up we are fighting a losing battle against the vermin, even though he has been
well payed for waging it.
Spurlock takes us to New York City Hall,
where the two-legged rats plan this year’s campaign against the four-legged
variety. He also tags along on a walking inspection tour with City health
inspectors, who point out the telltale signs we would otherwise overlook. There
are plenty of unsettling shots of rats gorging on garbage, but it is even more
disturbing to see what gets pulled out of them during autopsies. They carry
more than just the Plague, but that is very definitely still a concern, along
with Zika and Ebola.
In a way, Spurlock allows time for
contrary opinions, showing viewers how live rats are harvested in Cambodian
fields and shipped to Vietnamese restaurants, where they become real deal menu
items (who knows, maybe they taste like pumpkin pie). However, these sequences
might be the most disturbing. However, for sheer spectacle, it is tough to beat
the site of specially trained terriers gong to town on an English rat colony. (Apparently,
the New York rat problem has gotten so bad under de Blasio, one downtown
neighborhood association started their own terrier patrols).
Often the tone of Rats is reminiscent of The
Hellstrom Chronicle, which is only too appropriate. Spurlock delivers the
gross-out goods, but the film is still quite informative, as one would expect
from the Discovery Channel’s imprimatur. Frankly, this is probably the most
watchable film he has ever directed. Somehow Rats manages to be disgusting, alarming, and perversely fun. Highly
recommended for inquiring minds, it airs this Saturday night (10/22) on the Discovery
Labels: Discovery Channel, Documentary, Morgan Spurlock, Rats