Of Unknown Origin (1983)
Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.
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as Meg Hughes
as Lorrie Wells
as Eliot Riverton
as James Hall
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Critic Reviews for Of Unknown Origin
It's ultimately clear that Of Unknown Origin might've worked as a half hour short yet is simply unable to sustain an 88 minute running time...
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Pretty typical tale of how rats will occasionally go nuts and start devouring humans. Peter Weller brings some gravity to the ratty affair.
An intelligent overlooked horror film about writer's block.
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Audience Reviews for Of Unknown Origin
Killer animal movies have been a staple of the horror genre almost since the genre began, but "Of Unknown Origin" offers up its own unique twist on that theme with star Peter Weller going mano a mano with a giant killer rat. In that respect, it's almost the "Die Hard" of killer rate movies with some better-than-average writing for a movie of this nature. Weller is the glue that holds it all together, giving yet another one of his trademark quirky performances. His slow descent into madness is a lot of fun to watch as the battle intensifies, but the built-up is admittedly sluggish and filled with a lot of unnecessary plot developments. George P. Cosmatos is something of a hack director and you can't help but think a more skilled filmmaker could have made this something even better. Still, the special effects are quite good, and credit must be given to the film for generating a lot of genuine suspense without much blood or gore. The rat is quite convincing and definitely revolting when it needs to be. Also a lot of fun is the final showdown as Weller systematically destroys the home he so lovingly created as his descent comes full circle, but you certainly feel like things are wrapped up too abruptly. Despite a few minor complaints, "Of Unknown Origin" is a clever cat and mouse thriller in the truest sense of the words, a smart horror film that doesn't quite fit into the genre, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. It has its own distinctive style, with a flair all its own but at the same time lacking a real punch to take it to the top.
Of Unknown Origin is a rather simple story that could either be interpreted as stress and yuppiedom driving a man to insanity or a straight up man versus monster/rodent movie. It's mildly entertaining and offers Peter Weller essentially putting on a one man show as he destroys his apartment looking for the titular vermin.
It's Peter Weller vs a Rat in what's basically an urban Moby Dick.
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