Deadly Eyes is not the best horror movie you will ever see, but it is also not a complete waste of time. It actually gets to be quite fun at times and for a Canadian production directed by Robert Clouse, it was done surprisingly well. Based on James Herbert’s novel, The Rats, the film finds a teacher played by Sam Groom getting involved with a city health inspector as portrayed by Sara Botsford. Eventually they find themselves in a bit of a pickle as they must deal with a giant rat problem plaguing the city, one that has claimed many lives and if not brought under control, will claim many more. It is a fairly standard story, not really bringing anything new to the genre whatsoever, but it is fun watching all the dogs running around in their rat suits as they terrorize the city.
The movie is actually quite formulaic as well, following the pattern that many other movies of its ilk do – idyllic settings are introduced, happy people, inciting incident happens, things get out of control, unhappy people, star of film must find a way to save the day whether they are qualified or not and then the happy ending. So yes, it is quite standard and quite cliché, but that alone does not really make it as corny as it is. Most of that can be attributed to the script by Charles H. Eglee, who could have adhered a little closer to the source material and could have strengthened the dialogue up a lot, but instead what we ended up with was this. More than anything, it felt like a CBS movie of the week. The film also had that ‘goodtime gloss’ on it, so it really captured that feel from those Sunday night movies or what many of the dramas and such sported during this time period. It is that happy-go-lucky, everything is great, idyllic atmosphere that the film portrays when it starts and it carries that feeling for a ways into it. When the killing finally starts happening, it manages to shed a little of it, but not enough to really make it feel like a horror film. That being said, there are a few moments that are a little frightening, one being where the child gets killed, even though it happens off-screen. It might not be the scariest of films, but it is a horror film after all.
The acting was all right, with Paul Harris being the teacher and coach that everyone loves. Sara Botsford, who gets introduced a bit later is the leading lady of the film and also fulfills the quota for nudity that the movie and its genre demanded. Also starring in the film would be Lisa Langlois as Trudy, a young blond student who is infatuated with Groom’s character Paul Harris, and Cec Linder as Paul’s friend Dr. Spencer, who fills the role of the wise old man with all the answers. Out of them all, the leads of the film do the better job, though working from such a poor script, they could only do so much.
There is not a lot of love out there for this picture, rating pretty low on almost any film site you might go to, but it is not as bad as all that. Sure, it is a little cheesy, and while there are some disturbing scenes, you might feel as if you have watched this before with something else simply taking the place of the rats, whether a killer or whatever, and you would be right. This film has essentially been made many times before, but it does not necessarily mean it is bad – just overly familiar. If there is a bit of time in your day that needs whiling away, then this a film that can do that and it will not feel as if you completely wasted it. Only a little.