Ben continues the story of Willard from the perspective of his rat. Ben was undoubtedly the smartest member of Willard’s rat colony. It’s because of him, the rats were able to turn on their master. Ben picks up immediately after Willard’s death. Almost all of the focus is on Ben leading his rat army to find food, survive in the sewer, and attack anyone who threatens them. The body count is bigger, but Ben is not your typical horror sequel.
It’s actually the source of the Academy Award nominated chart topping Michael Jackson song “Ben.” I know what you’re thinking, “How does a movie about killer rats produce such a beautiful song?” You could always sense that Ben was jealous of Willard’s favoritism towards Socrates. Well now Ben has a friend to call his own. Danny is a sick boy who finds comfort in Ben. Lee Montgomery is a precious child actor who sells the unlikely friendship. Rosemary Murphy and Meredith Baxter play Danny’s mother and sister who try to protect him.
Joseph Campanella and Arthur O’Connell play an officer and reporter who try to wipe out the infestation. Though the original novel was titled Ratman’s Notebooks, they don’t become relevant until the police need information on the trained rats. You don’t know who to root for when swarms of rats are exterminated with flamethrowers. I didn’t think it was possible, but I actually cried for a rat when an injured Ben returns to Danny and the Michael Jackson song starts to play. Ben is so unorthodox, it works.
Preceded by: Willard