Of Unknown Origin (1983)
Smug, anal, successful and ambitious detail-oriented Wall Street yuppie businessman Bart Hughes (exceptionally well played by Peter Weller in his first lead role) has his cozy and comfortable life thrown out of whack when a large and crafty rat invades his fancy brownstone apartment. When conventional methods of extermination prove fruitless, the increasingly primal, obsessive and paranoid Bart resorts to more drastic vicious and barbarous measures in order to rid himself of this loathsome pest.
Director George P. Cosmatos, who also helmed the Sly Stallone action vehicles "Rambo: First Blood Part II" and "Cobra," wrings plenty of tension out of the creepy premise, expertly maintains a snappy pace throughout and stages the ample jolting shocks with a considerable amount of flair and skill. Moreover, the smart and trenchant script by Brian Taggert offers a potent, gripping and provocative allegory on "civilized" man's latent capacity for extreme violence and brutality needing the proper stimulus to be activated (the incredible conclusion with Weller chasing the rodent around his posh abode while brandishing a spiked baseball bat is both disturbing and exciting in comparable measure). Weller's outstanding intense performance easily carries the picture, with fine supporting turns by Jennifer Dale as Weller's concerned secretary, Lawrence Dane as Weller's tough, but fair and equally worried boss, Louis Del Grande as the macho building superintendent, gorgeous "Playboy" Playmate Shannon Tweed as Weller's hot babe wife, and Maury Chaykin as a jerky co-worker. Rene Verzier's beautifully polished cinematography and Ken Wannberg's supremely spooky'n'shivery score are both on the money effective and impressive. The rat is one genuinely scary and nasty piece of repulsive work. A total powerhouse. (IMDB Woodyanders) V&D