WHAT: Rats, a new documentary shines a light on the world’s most-hated rodents.
WHO: Morgan Spurlock, who first made his name with Super Size Me, directed this film, taking inspiration from Robert Sullivan’s book Rats: Observations on the History & Habitat of the City’s Most Unwanted Inhabitants.
WHY WE CARE: Rooting out rats from New York City to Mumbai, Spurlock says he wanted to make his latest documentary feel like a ‘modern-day horror film.’ Judging from the squirm-inducing trailer for Rats, which just had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, he has achieved this goal—there are some gross-out close-ups of nasty parasites freshly extracted from the bodies of dead rats by scientists studying the diseases they carry and scary footage of rats flowing from trash bags on the sidewalk into the sewers of New York City. It’s hard to watch even the little bits of the film we see via this trailer, but Spurlock clearly wants to shock his audience into paying more attention to these rodents who are going about their business all around us but not always seen. While Spurlock interviews scientists, historians and city officials to get the lowdown on these creatures and their impact on the world, Ed Sheehan, a Brooklyn exterminator who has tangled with rodents for 40 years, is most prominently featured in the trailer for good reason—he’s a real character. Sitting in a basement smoking a cigar as he is interviewed, Sheehan shares a grudging respect for his long-time foes. “They’re just too damn smart,” he says. “It’s becoming harder and harder to kill them.”
There will be midnight screenings of Rats at Landmark Theatres across the country September 23-24 before the film airs on Discovery October 22.