Review by James Lindorf
Ratpoclypse is the passion project of first-time filmmaker Vladimir Uglichin, who wrote, directed, composed and helped finance the project that was initially slated for a 2015 release. Unfortunately, the completed project was placed on a shelf somewhere and forgotten until now, when political tension between Russia and United States is the highest it has been in many years. Casper Van Dien stars as U.S. Senator John Perryman, a man with a higher mission than improving schools or lowering taxes. He has a message from a higher power that “Whoever doesn’t fight corruption will be turned into filthy, dirty rats!” a message that turns out to be surprisingly accurate. While the film takes place almost exclusively in Russia, it was actually filmed entirely in Oklahoma. In addition to the Starship Troopers hero, the film also stars Casper Van Dien’s then wife Catherine Oxenberg, Victoria Summer (Zombie Diaries, Dracula: Reborn and Saving Mr. Banks), Linda Bella (Filth to Ashes, Flesh to Dust, and Devil’s Domain) and Natalya Lapina (Imitator, Heart of a Dog) as the four people who will be most responsible for John’s fate throughout the movie.
The film features some poor CGI, however, while it wasn’t of the highest quality, I am a fan of the look of the transformed people. It isn’t photo realistic, but I did like they didn’t go to grotesque with the look. Instead, they look like giant bipedal rats with a blend of human and rat facial features. The CGI is also consistent, which is an important fact. You don’t want to be continually pulled out of the film when something looks much worse than everything around it. The acting, on average, is subpar but the best actors in the film are its stars. Several of them feature quality chemistry with each other. The best chemistry is between Casper Van Dien and Catherine Oxenberg, simply because you can’t fake almost two decades of knowing each other. The script calls for several dramatic scenes of despair or horror, and sadly, several of the additional cast members are not capable of pulling it off.
The script also features multiple scenes spoken entirely in Russian. Without subtitles, these scenes left me feeling cold, because I had no idea what was going on. And while the movie has many “WTF” moments and character motivations, its message is clear and consistent. We need the intervention of a higher power to help combat political corruption, and the messenger will come in a man so corrupt, the only thing positive about him is his blood type. This was not a very good movie, but I was entertained by John, Paulina, Anna and Brianna, to the point I wasn’t checking the clock during its 88-minute runtime. If you are a fan of sci-fi/fantasy films with a unique premise, you can do a lot worse than checking out Ratpocalypse.