Che Gilson’s Netflix Roulette – #2 Rodentz (2001)

Join Che as she plays Netflix Roulette and watches a randomly selected horror film. Will it be awesome? Will it be torture? What horrors await?? Find out every month with Netflix Roulette!

rodentz1Title: Rodentz (AKA Altered Species)

Year: 2001

Director: Serge Rodnunsky (as Miles Feldman)

Netflix Rating: 2.5

Seen it before: No

Starring: Allen Lee Haff, Leah Rowan, Guy Vieg, Robert Broughton, Richard Peterson, Derek Hofman, Alexandra Townsend, David Bradley

First Impressions: So hardcore they spelled it with a ‘z’! LOL! Hmm… giant rat movie. And bonus! Giant psychic rats! I feel like this one has TV movie written all over it. I wonder if it ever aired on SyFy back when it was the Sci-Fi Channel? I also hope it isn’t just rubber rats. Let’s find out.

The verdict: Wow. Just wow. Warning – do not watch this film alone. Or sober.

Rodentz opens with lab assistant and college student Walter (Allan Lee Haff) pouring day-glow green chemicals down the drain. He has a long discussion with Professor Irwin (Guy Vieg) about sciencey sounding things that are mostly just a science word salad (‘auditory enzymes’ anyone?).

Rodentz2Meanwhile finals are over and a van full of other drunk college students, all of whom are too old to be playing college students, are on their way to visit the overly studious Walter and pry him from science’s boring hands so he can drink tequila (fruit punch) from a plastic jug with them. Shenanigans involving small killer rats, and one large killer rat ensue.

The plot is honestly not important. It’s a paint by numbers screenplay that the director simply filled in with bad dialogue, terrible acting and embarrassing special effects. There are real rats, fake rats, CG rats circa 2001, and the coup de grâce, a giant rat suit. A big giant fake rat suit. Let that sink a moment.

There was maybe twenty minutes of actual ‘things happening’ (to call it action is an overstatement) and the rest of the movie is padded out with driving, establishing shots of L.A. freeways (mostly the same stretch), more driving, science, bickering, driving, and shots of rats.

There is nothing to really recommend Rodentz. It is in a lot of ways hilariously bad. Poor editing, poor sound, poor acting and well, you get the idea. It’s bad from one end to the other. Even the establishing shots don’t match, and there are so many of them. Almost every scene change has an establishing shot of SOMETHING. Even the lighting gave up toward the end. Getting brighter despite a supposed power outage.

rodentz3The laugh-out-loud moments come at the expense of everyone involved with Rodentz. If the juvenile dialogue doesn’t get you the special effects will. It’s not scary, it’s not gory, it’s not interesting. But if you like to inflict terrible movies on your friends invite them over and spring this on them.

Also, the synopsis lied. The rats aren’t psychic. They just sort of act in concert once in awhile but it’s not really a thing.

Rating: 2/10

Che Gilson

About Che Gilson

Che Gilson is a long time horror fan having been converted early by the Hammer vampire films that used to air on local TV stations after Saturday morning cartoons ended. Fed on a regular diet of horror novels she still loves a good scare. She is the author of several comic books, the urban fantasy novella “Carmine Rojas: Dog Fight” and the upcoming “Tea Times Three”. While she can’t seem to actually write a horror novel she still watches copious amounts of horror movies. She blogs on TV and writing at https://chegilson.wordpress.com/ Twitter: @CheGilson

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