A social misfit, Willard is made fun of by his co-workers, and squeezed out of the company started by his deceased father by his boss. His only friends are a couple of rats he raised at home, Ben and Socrates. However, when one of them is killed at work, he goes on a rampage using his rats to attack those who have been tormenting him.
***A young loner finds that he connects with… rats*** A mama’s boy and meek misfit (Bruce Davison) befriends the rats that live behind his mother old manor and decides to use them to get back at his domineering boss (Ernest Borgnine) who usurped the business from his father. Sondra Locke is on hand as a coworker in one of her earliest roles. "Willard" (1971) is an odd mundane character study of a timid loner with low key horror and a bit o’ black humor; it has a curious vibe that hints at the insanity of life. Incredibly, it was a minor hit at the box office, the 12th top-grossing movie of 1971, beating out notables like “Escape from the Planet of the Apes,” “Shaft,” “Play Misty for Me,” “McCabe & Mrs. Miller” and “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.” I say “incredibly” because this is a small, absurd, melancholy movie of little consequence, yet not without some interest. The main rats are cute, for instance. Plus it’s nice to see Locke in her young, pre-Eastwood years. She dated star Davison while filming “Willard,” but not publicly since she was married to her soul mate from high school. The husband didn’t mind, however, since he was homosexual. The movie runs 1 hour, 35 minutes, and was shot in Los Angeles. GRADE: B-