Of Unknown Origin - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Of Unknown Origin Reviews

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½ March 25, 2016
I don't know that I've ever rooted for a man over an animal as hard as I did while watching this!
½ April 14, 2015
Entertaining performance by Weller; locked in an obsessive, escalating war with a rat in his home. Not really a horror film, even unintentionally funny in parts.
November 3, 2014
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.
August 14, 2014
A Unknown movie gem. Of Unknown Origin is a surprisingly entertaining, but a peculiar movie. The story pits a Lawyer (Hughes) against a rat. (I know the joke which one is the bad guy?) A creepy feeling is created by the director as the rat invades the protagonist's home, and eventually his personal life. A feeling of violation is present! The rat's infestation is a slow burn with scratches in the wall, and picks up momentum as the carnage worsens. Hughes character (Peter Weller) is slowly driven to the brink. Who will out last who? Well acted and directed. I give Of Unknown Origin a 3 out of 5 in the creep meter.
July 5, 2014
Peter Weller versus an abnormally-large, hyper-intelligent, killer rat? What's not to like? OF UNKNOWN ORIGIN is a big chunk of tasty '80s cheese, well-directed by B-movie veteran Cosmatos. The movie treats the subject matter seriously, but yet still finds a way to have fun with it, primarily through some wonderful, squirm-inducing moments and a terrific leading performance from Weller, who dives right in with his character's progression from mildly irritated, to harried, to at his wit's end; the script also gives him dialogue that's sharp, witty, and full of personality, and he brings a real undercurrent of dry humor to the story. As for his villainous rodent nemesis, the movie employs - for the most part - some great, up-close photography of an actual rat, and as hard as it may be to believe, the movie manages to make this critter a credible threat to Weller's physical and mental well-being. This is a film whose premise has (more or less) been done many times, and it could have easily been boring, outlandish schlock, but Cosmatos and company keep things on the track at all points. OF UNKNOWN ORIGIN does exactly what good, mid-level genre should: populate the story with intelligent characters, include a healthy sense of humor, and make a ridiculous premise compelling through inventive staging and effective suspense. It does run on just a little bit long, but it's completely entertaining for the duration, and in a refreshingly un-ironic way.
November 29, 2013
Peter Weller's almost one man show--Humour and Irony makes it good!!
½ September 21, 2013
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.
½ October 27, 2012
A rising executive gets distracted from a big work project by a clever rat infesting his apartment. I learned more about rats in this film than reading an encyclopedia. Rats are apparently capable of eating through lead and concrete.
June 30, 2012
um....there wasn;t really enough story here for the runtime to get away with it i think....could have cut maybe 5 or 10 minutes out of it to get the structure a bit better.....theres some really good stuff in it but i think its a bit disapointing in the second half.
½ April 2, 2012
Business exec wages war with a rat that has infested his home. Peter Weller gives the film more than anyone should expect and eventually resorts to a scorched earth policy with the rat. Thankfully it is noted he is good at renovations.
December 5, 2011
Heard it was underrated.
Super Reviewer
½ July 6, 2011
It's Peter Weller vs a Rat in what's basically an urban Moby Dick.
½ March 12, 2011
A rising executive gets distracted from a big work project by a clever rat infesting his apartment. I learned more about rats in this film than reading an encyclopedia. Rats are apparently capable of eating through lead and concrete.
January 1, 2011
An interesting tale of man vs. animal as Peter Weller does vicious battle with a large rat in his swanky brownstone, at the expense of his career, home and almost life itself.

Worth a rental, has some interesting bits and Weller is always fun to watch.

Give it a look.
December 23, 2010
A pre-Robocop Peter Weller is the highlight here, playing a yuppie who throws down with a big rodent that's nibbling away at his NYC brownstone. This is apparently an occasion for heavy-handed allusions to Moby Dick.
December 16, 2010
Peter Weller plays a high power business guy who has a rat in his townhouse. A townhouse that he lovingly restored himself by hand. Only this is no ordinary rat. A must see! Wow. One of my new favorites.
½ December 5, 2010
I saw this odd little film a decade ago and haven't seen it since. I do recall being impressed, entertained, and on the edge of my seat. Here we go again, as I'll explain what I remember of the story.

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.
November 20, 2010
I remember seeing this on HBO when I was about 8 or 9 years old and it scared the living crap out of me. I was terrified of rats for years after watching this movie. The film does drag in the middle big time and it would have made an awesome episode of Tales from the Crpyt. Peter Weller is terrorized by a giant rat that has movied into his new place while the wife is away. He tries to capture the monster but he eventually must play by it's rules and get mean. This is worth watching because it gives a desperate feel of man vs. beast like in Jaws.
½ November 13, 2010
Sooo...yeah. I've been on a bad 80's movie kick lately. I wouldn't call this movie bad, just lifeless. Sure, Peter Wellers' robo-tastic voice could put you to sleep with its monotone droning, but at least I was awake and chuckling at 60+ minutes of unraveling man vs. rat action.
Cult classic? Not quite. Just a forgotten, forgettable odd flick.
½ October 6, 2010
Interesting and better than expected man vs. rat flick, but so utterly preposterous that it is laughable by the end. Entertaining, nonetheless.
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