Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
Willard Movie Poster Image
Terrifying and violent horror movie. Rats -- EWW.
  • PG-13
  • 2003
  • 100 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The cast lacks cultural diversity.


Extremely intense horror violence, characters killed.


Character views a porn website.


Some very strong language including "f--k" and "s--t."


Some materialism.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Brief drinking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this is a horror movie with real horror, including some scary shocks, some very tense and suspenseful moments, and some very grisly images. Characters are in peril and some are killed.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bywonder dove October 15, 2013

Outstanding! A rare find!

Willard is one of those hidden gems not very many people know about. It's a well-made super scary and eerie horror film about a lonely and kind man named W... Continue reading
Adult Written byrickydoo85 April 9, 2008

Not as violent as it looks.

This movie from the trailer seems like their would be a lot of deaths and bloody scenes in the film. But there was only 1. It's about a man and his favorit... Continue reading
Kid, 9 years old October 4, 2020

Slightly uncomfortable yet extremely entertaining viewing

Rodents, corpses, and blood.
I thoroughly enjoyed it but here are some things you should know if you're planning on showing this movie t... Continue reading

What's the story?

In this remake, Willard (Crispin Glover) is a quietly desperate man who lives in a huge, decaying mansion with his even more decaying mother. He works at the business his father once owned, for Mr. Martin (R. Lee Ermey), a man who constantly humiliates him. Willard does what he is told. When his mother tells him to kill the rats in the basement, he goes to the store to buy traps and poison. But when a small white mouse is caught in a trap, he carefully rescues it, names it Socrates, and it becomes first a pet and then his only friend. Willard then discovers that he has a psychic connection to the rats, especially a huge one he names Ben. They become the embodiment of his id, the unleashed resentment and anger of 20 years. He looses them, with great satisfaction on Martin's fancy new Mercedes. But then, like the sorceror's apprentice, he finds he is no longer in control. The rats are hungry.

Is it any good?

There may never be a better horror movie about the relationship of a repressed young man to his ravenous rats than this remake of the 1973 version starring Bruce Davidson and Ernest Borgnine.

The movie's strengths are Glover's genuine weirdness and the stunning production design. Screenwriter/director Glen Morgan has both passion and feel for the material and a macabre sense of humor. Fans of the original will enjoy seeing Davidson's appear in a portrait and photos as Willard's father and a reprise of Michael Jackson's "Ben," the hit song from the sequel to the original movie, now even creepier than it was back then.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why Willard felt he had no alternatives, and how stories like this are often inspired by the consequences of keeping feelings inside and a sense of powerlessness.

  • Why was Willard unable to accept Katherine's offer of friendship?

Movie details

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