Of Unknown Origin Reviews
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.
Worth a rental, has some interesting bits and Weller is always fun to watch.
Give it a look.
Plot: Peter Weller (ROBOCOP) is left alone as his wife and son go away for a vacation leaving him alone in the comfort of their home. This is convenient since he could need the peace and quiet, and will have plenty of time to complete a project in the works, earning him a promotion.
Suddenly strange sounds start coming from within the walls and basement. Foolishly he assumes it faulty plumbing, but soon learns otherwise. He has a gigantic "Rattus Norvegicus" problem, and will use any extreme measures imaginable to defeat and kill the huge rat.
He becomes obsessed, consuming all of his spare time setting up booby traps all over his nice New York home. Killing the rodent is no simple task, and the entire house is destroyed in the process. The gigantic rodent shows signs of intelligence, defeating every desperate attempt of capture / extermination. Now it's a battle of wits...
I don't know if I'd like the film now as I did a decade ago, but really want to see it again. I laughed a lot watching this and accepted it for what it was: A film about a man losing it, VS a big ass rat. As I said, I was impressed and really liked the simplicity of the story and the intensity of the rat problem.
It is fun seeing Peter Weller become obsessed as he slowly goes mad, and he puts on a fine credible performance.
It has some nice touches of history in it as well. He undergoes some good old detective work through research, and we learn a bit more than common knowledge about the history of rodents through the ages.
This was directed by George P. Cosmatos, who also did the film TOMBSTONE and COBRA in the 80's.
Since it's been a decade ago I saw this, I will not recommend the film. Opinions and second viewings often seem to change over the years, and in my case hope it will not with this one. But I do plan getting this in the near future, and so can you if interested. It has been released on DVD and can be found on Amazon dirt cheap.
Of Unknown Origin makes a good companion to WILLARD or BEN.