RATTLED has a built-in advantage over many horror flicks since most moviegoers cringe at the very mention of the word "snake." Even if this film slithers down the most obvious of fright trails, there are plenty of indisputable screams in store to drown out the sound of rattling cliches.
As a relatively new hubby and stepfather, environmentally sensitive construction consultant Paul Donahue (William Katt) tries to care for his ready-made family while protecting their neighborhood from damage from site blasting. At a time when his biggest concern is placating his resentful
stepson, Adam (Michael Galeota), Paul doesn't realize that his employer's demolition charges have unearthed a community of subterranean rattlesnakes.
Hungry and homeless, the serpents are in a foul mood. Because the fanged cause of a foreman's demise is overlooked when he is subsequently flattened by a truck, the adaptive snakes seize the chance to resettle in Adam's play-fort. In their new neighborhood, they snack on the pet birds of Gail
Hendershot (Bibi Besch), the wife of Paul's impatient boss, Murray Hendershot (Ed Lauter), and put the bite on a landscaper. But when Murray is found dead of a snakebite, Paul seeks advice from a snake specialist, Dr. Remsen (Ian Abercrombie).
Paul and Doc Remsen head for a power station, the rattlers' new housing project. Despite warnings, headstrong Adam disobediently bikes right into the rattlers' den. Paul overcomes his fear of snakes to rescue his stepchild and carries him to safety.
While the individual scare scenes in RATTLED are real grabbers, the build-up between them is often slack. The screenplay construction isn't tight or ingenious enough to create true momentum. But, never bored, the audience gets its money's worth every time the little darlings show up. If we're not
constantly on the edge of our seats, then isolated jolts, such as a curious toddler's continually reaching out for a snake as if it were a toy, will have the susceptible viewer reaching for Valium.
In fact, RATTLED is a whiz at false alarms; the spectator grips his chair every time an unsuspecting hand dips into a clothes hamper or searches under a bed. This air of uncertainty keeps horror buffs nicely jittery even when the film's subtext about family divisiveness sets them groaning.
(Spiteful little Adam is as good a candidate for a rattler's dinner as one could envision.)
Milking its frights within genre conventions, RATTLED is blessed with a likable cast that keeps us rooting for their characters. (Violence, adult situations.)
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1996
- Rating: PG-13
- Review: RATTLED has a built-in advantage over many horror flicks since most moviegoers cringe at the very mention of the word "snake." Even if this film slithers down the most obvious of fright trails, there are plenty of indisputable screams in store to drown ou… (more)