Cat-sized rats, laced-up on steroid enriched grain apparently destined for starving kids in Africa, overrun the city as former chop-socky filmmaker Clouse applies his unique, high contact brand of action/horror. Breaking with convention early, his sewer mob spirit away a toddler from its high chair – a trail of blood and an empty wonder suit greets the hysterical mother, a scene sure to disaffect plenty of parents so early in the piece, they may not stay for the blood bath still to come. Local teacher and single dad Groom investigates the strange goings on, while courting the attentions of Health official (Botsford) and attempting to dissuade those of an infatuated student (Langlois).
The versatile vaudeville performer Crothers is wasted in a frivolous supporting role, while veteran Canadian actor Linder is also given little respect. Langlois is the most vivacious characterisation, giving conviction and dimension to the sexually confident and nubile young student, enamoured by the worldly but unattainable Groom. Clouse even manages to stage a rat attack during a Bruce Lee cinema retrospective at which his film “Game of Death” is played on the big screen, for those who might appreciate an in-joke.
It’s formula filmmaking and Clouse handles both the characterisations and action sequences with adept skill, albeit with little attention to detail or continuity. Groom is an affable leading man, Botsford a more attractive proposition (there’s even a fire-lit love scene to really set the mood), and the daschunds dressed in sewer rat costumes, almost look cute in some scenes, as they scamper from one mark to the next below aerial shots that clearly display their canine features. Extremely bloody with plenty of limb gnawing, bone chewing gore, “Night Eyes” is the perfect late night viewing experience.