People that read my reviews soon learn one inescapable fact: I love bad movies.
I love good movies too…but there’s something somehow comforting about curling up late one night with a flick like Blood Freak or Killer Clowns From Outer Space. I’m not saying there’s not a line there where a bad movie is just BAD (my prime example, The Howling II: Your Sister Is A Werewolf; brrrr…I get nauseous thinking about it), but you guys out there know what I mean, so maybe you all won’t think I’m nuts with my opinions on some of these little cinematic gems.
Which brings me to Gnaw: Food of the Gods Part II. The title alone should tell you that you’re not going to be in for a night of deep thespian skill nor profoundly thought-provoking writing…no, you should only plug this one in if you’re in the mood for some mindless fun. It’s one of my guilty pleasures.
This film really has no relation to the 1976 film Food of the Gods, save the concept of gigantic rats (and the not-so-clever strategy of name recognition). If you’re looking for some kind of tribute to the genius of H.G. Wells (writer of the story) or Bert I. Gordon (director of the original film), I recommend you stay away. However, there’s definitely some merit in this little Canadian production; can you dig forced perspective and miniature shots to illustrate giant rodents? How about some gratuitous depictions of folks with their faces chewed off, during and after? If the concept of a stream of hungry former lab rats the size of St. Bernards cruising through the maintenance tunnels of a university sounds like fun, you should check this one out.
The plot is fairly straightforward: our heroic scientist Neil Hamilton (played by Paul Coufos), a man of principle, only testing plants and trying to find ways to grow bigger crops, is asked by a colleague for help. Apparently, some of her growth research has caused a little boy some (absolutely hilarious, if unintentionally so) side effects. Though he deplores her for testing her research on a human being, his high ideals prompt him to help both his old mentor and the child. He tests a distillation of the hormone he obtained from testing the boy first on a plant, which grows tenfold in hours. Needing to see how it works on a biological system similar to humans, he reluctantly obtains some test rats from another department and injects one with the hormone…then immediately goes out for a hot evening with his student girlfriend (apparently, high ideals don’t include not fraternizing with the student body).
Enter the “Student Activists Trying To Make A Difference” (forerunners, perhaps, of those dumbasses from 28 Days Later), who break into the lab to free the noble rodents from their lab animal fates (strangely, they have no issue with exterminators coming to simply kill them later that very evening, and this is even before the shit hits the fan). One of them has a klutzy moment, the rat that got the hormone injection (which is now the size of a badger) gets free, as well as a dozen or so of his little cousins (whom we the audience know have been gnoshin’ on the mutant plant through their little cages)…and we’re off to the races.
I stress again, this isn’t a film you watch if you want to be emotionally moved, but there is some decent gore, a pretty humorous (if irrelevant) Clint Eastwood parody, a freakish sex scene (you’ll never think of Viagra the same), and a climax that is the stuff of legend: it involves synchronized swimming (yes, I said synchronized swimming), and it blows up into a mass of apeshit chaos that is simultaneously horrifying and funny as all hell. Top it off with a touching moment of a boy (well, OK, he’s a grown man) and his rat, and an appropriately “open” ending, and you have a great flick to watch with like-minded pals and laugh the night away.
If you hate it, remember; I told you from the start what to expect =)