Wednesday, December 07, 2016
DIRECTOR: Morgan Spurlock
Dr. Michael Blum
Rats is a horrormentary that shows the history of rat infestations throughout some of the largest and most populated cities on Earth. We take an alarming and scary look at the rat populations of New York, India, Cambodia, England, and Vietnam. Filmmaker, Morgan Spurlock conducts interviews with exterminators and scientists who are trying to find ways to work and eliminate overpopulation and prevent an outbreak of disease which could be transmitted to humans caused by the rat population.
I'm not gonna lie; I'm not a big fan of Morgan Spurlock as a documentary filmmaker. I thought Super Size Me was incredibly overrated and anybody with half a brain could tell you that if you ate McDonald's three times a day for a month, that the implication would be terrible on your body and health. It just came across as a complete farce as we all knew that McDonald's isn't good or healthy food. We didn't need an hour and a half documentary where a guy puts his body through hell to prove it.
We were then given Morgan Spurlock's documentary Where In The World Is Osama Bin Laden? A production that was so hyped up coming off of the film festival circuit that studios immediately bid millions and millions of dollars on it and built all of this hype that the ending was going to be this absolute game-changer for documentary movies. I went into this under the impression that Morgan Spurlock had secured an interview with Osama Bin Laden. When I finally watched it, nothing actually happens, I was left annoyed. Bullshit hype paid for by the studio.
Now we come to Rats, Morgan Spurlock's latest documentary and for once, I actually sat there glued to the screen. I was absolutely disgusted, creeped out, and shocked by what I had witnessed. When Discovery Channel called this a horrormentary, they weren't lying. This is some of the most disturbing documentary footage that I think I've ever witnessed. While not as gruesome and horrific as The Cove or Earthlings, this was still enough to turn me off eating food for the rest of the night. This goes to some pretty heinous places.
The documentary starts in New York City. I absolutely love the city. It's my favourite city in the world. Telling me that the streets and sewers are filled with millions of rats isn't going to scare me away from ever visiting that place again. Showing me that 5-star restaurants are infested with rats is a little more stomach churning. Seeing some rats pouring out of garbage bags that lined the street is expected when you're a city that is knowing for dumping them on the sidewalks of your streets.
When things go to India, Cambodia, and Vietnam, this is where the movie gets pretty horrific. Rats being caught in Cambodia and transported to Vietnam to be used as bar food in what looks like actual bars and restaurants were close to vomit inducing. Here I was almost sick watching an elderly woman drown a bucket full of rats and then see her cutting them up with a cleaver. They show the entire preparation, and you witness people actually eating them. The footage was enough to make me want to go back to being a vegetarian.
When we go to England to see how they handle their rat population problems, I felt a lot more for the rats during these scenes. I'm highly against animal cruelty. Watching a group of posh people walking around these open fields with groups of these vicious terriers who are hunting and ripping rats to pieces wasn't very nice to watch. It just showed how cruel people can be to animals. They talk about how humane this way of death to the rat is and five dogs tearing it to pieces doesn't look very compassionate.
We also have a scene where we return back to India that shows the rat being held as some godly animal. A temple that is dedicated to the rat. Seeing the owner of this rat temple drinking from the same bowl of milk that dozens of rats are drinking from was sickening. I found myself almost gagging during these scenes. In saying that, though, it was good to see a scene where the rats weren't being horribly killed which happens a lot in this documentary.
Lastly, rats is an extremely tough watch. We also have a few scenes where they do experiments on rats to see how they can try and control disease towards humans. I think the removal of live botfly larvae, tapeworms, and parasites is more gross and scarier than most horror films. This is a movie that will sicken a lot of people, it's not a very easy documentary to watch. Rats is the very definition of a horrormentary.
DEATH TOLL: 1000's of Rats.
BLOOD AND GORE:
- Rats being cut open and chopped up to be prepared for food.
- Living parasites, tapeworms, and botfly larvae found inside of rats.
- Rats being cut open and experimented on.
- Lots of rats being caught in traps.
- Rats being smacked against rocks.
- Rats having their necks pulled and broken.
- Terriers tearing rats to pieces.
Rats is one of the most stomach-churning documentaries that I've ever seen. This is up there with The Cove and Earthlings regarding disturbing footage of the treatment of animals. Even though rats are considered a pest or rodents. A lot of the footage is still very tough to witness. This is the very definition of a horrormentary that I think needs to be seen regardless. Just go in with the knowledge that you may lose your appetite, and you may never want to eat ever again. Easily Morgan Spurlock's best documentary to date.