Based on the short story of the same title from the Stephen King classic anthology Night Shift,4 this 1990 film is a decent adaptation. It fleshes out the short and builds up the anticipation of finding out what horrors are lurking down below in the basement dungeon of the old mill. That mill is the lifeblood of a small rural town and it is on danger of being shutdown. Warwick, the asshole in charge will do whatever it takes to keep the mill running. Even if he has to sacrifice people to do it.
A drifter named John comes into town desperate for work. Getting hired at the mill he ends up becoming ensnared in what is happening at the mill, pitting himself unintentionally against his new boss. However he has an ally in a coworker, Jane, who is the only friend he’s got in a town where most of the people don’t like him. But hey at least people are easier to deal with than the rat infestation that has overtaken the mill. Much easier.
Brad Dourif is great in his unfortunately limited role as The Exterminator and this film does create a fairly solid atmosphere. I liked Dourif’s really eerie monologue about why he hates rats and Warwick is a really sinister villain. The creature effects are good for an early 1990s movie and I was entertained even if this film isn’t all that scary. I wouldn’t mind a remake of this movie, although bad CGI would probably be involved and too many awful horror remakes exist already. Sometimes its best to be satisfied with what you already have.