Movie Debaters 2013 Fear-a-thon Spectral-tacular! #20: Black Rat

We’re presenting a special series of articles this October on Movie Debaters. Every week day we’ll give you a write up of a movie that evokes fear into the viewer and sends chills down the spine. (Or, just, you know movies in the horror/thriller genre.)

We call it The Movie Debaters 2013 Fear-a-thon Spectral-tacular!

I like watching lesser known, underground movies. It’s not so much a hipster thing like “I am better than you for seeing obscure movies.” It’s because I love championing underground movies and helping to get them more well known.

For the first half of Black Rat I was convinced I found a really awesome movie. Unfortunately, the back half of the movie threw away the good will created by the first half.

The first half of this movie is truly great. The movie is about six Japanese high school friends who are summoned to their school by a mysterious text message. The message is from a recently deceased classmate. As the students file in, they are greeted with a cheery student who wears a mascot-like rat mask. The Rat Mask informs the other students that she’s going to kill them all.

What’s really great about the first half of the movie is that it perfectly juxtaposes the cheery, off beat sensibilities of Japanese culture — basically the cutesy Hello Kitty stuff — with serial killer horror. The Rat Mask killer gives her victims a chance to play a game to redeem themselves. Rat Mask makes one victim sing karaoke to save her life.

I really enjoyed this mash up of genres. It’s a fun, unique idea that had a lot of room to play around in.

But, like I said, the back half of the movie kind of lost the touch. There were two reasons for that.

One, the film is mostly told in flashbacks. While I generally don’t like flashbacks I guess I can kind of see why it would be good in this context. They just leaned a little to heavy on the flashbacks and not enough on Rat Mask chasing her victims through the school.

Two, is a bit of a spoiler so I’ll tip toe around it. They reveal who the killer is a little too early and because of that they make this really, really odd choice that seemed completely out of left field.

This movie’s only 75 minutes and it does have a pretty quick pace, so if you’re interested in seeing a cutesy Hello Kitty person dress up and start killing people, it’s not a bad choice. And I can’t stress enough: The first half is really, really good.


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