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The Demon Rat (Vinegar Syndrome) Blu-ray Review

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    Ian Jane
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  • The Demon Rat (Vinegar Syndrome) Blu-ray Review

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    Released by: Vinegar Syndrome
    Released on: July 25th, 2023.
    Director: Rubén Galindo Jr.
    Cast: Rossana San Juan, Gerardo Albarrán, Miguel Ángel Rodríguez, Óscar Vallejo, Enrike Palma
    Year: 1992
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Demon Rat – Movie Review:

    Directed by Rubén Galindo Jr. and released in its native Mexica in 1992, The Demon Rat is set in an indeterminate future where pollution is so bad everyone has to wear masks outside and stars Rossana San Juan as a beautiful young woman named Irina whose life isn’t what it once was. She works as a teacher in Mexico City and, when the movie begins, is in the middle of going through a fairly nasty divorce from her husband Roberto. Why? Because she was set to inherit a very profitable pharmaceutical empire when her father passed away, but Roberto, who cares not on whit about the environment, has essentially stolen this from her and she is, understandably, upset by his greedy treachery.

    In the midst of this human drama is a very large rat, mutated by the pollution that plagues the city into a beast large enough to take down Irina’s dog and then later, as it grows, an exterminator. Irina hits it off with a scientist named Axel to figure out what’s going on here. Soon enough, they discover that Roberto has been behind an illegal operation wherein nuclear waste has been improperly disposed of, which has caused some of the local animal population to mutate.

    As Irina and Axel team up to take out the rat, Roberto becomes increasingly desperate when he figures out what they’ve uncovered.

    As hokey as it is entertaining, The Demon Rat features a heavy-handed but valuable message about the dangers of pollution as well as some wonderfully wonky monster effects and very committed performances. The film is shot pretty well (though it does use a questionable amount of soft focus for reasons not readily apparent) and the movie wears its low budget on its sleeve, with the giant mutant rat, eventually running around on two legs, looking very much like the guy in a fun-fur suit that it is. Still, you’ve got to love it.

    There’s some ambition on display here to be sure. If Galindo doesn’t quite have the budget to convincingly pull off the post-apocalyptic setting he’s going for, he gets an A for effort. The cast struts about with masks on and there’s smoke all over the place – much more than that… we don’t really get it but the filmmakers are clearly doing the best with what they have available and that counts for something.

    If the acting isn’t amazing, it’s decent and everyone in the cast appears to be giving 100%. The romance elements are really overbaked but this leads to some unintentionally funny melodrama that just makes this whole shebang all the more endearing. Unfortunately, the love triangle subplot really slows things down in certain scenes and winds up feeling unnecessary. Had the movie focused entirely on a giant, mutated killer rat it would have been gold. It doesn’t do that but what we get is still pretty fun, despite some pacing issues.

    The Demon Rat – Blu-ray Review:

    The Demon Rat arrives on a 50GB region free Blu-ray disc with the feature presented in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 1.33.1 taken from a new 2k scan of the original 16mm negative. The movie is naturally grainy and that’s retained here but the transfer handles this well. For a movie that takes place mostly indoors in dimly lit areas, often times with a lot of smoke, the encoding holds up and compression artifacts are never an issue. Colors look good and skin tones are accurate. Noise reduction and edge enhancement are never problematic and there’s very little print damage here, outside of the occasional small white speck here and there.

    The only audio option for the feature is a Spanish language 24-bit LPCM 2.0 Mono track, with optional subtitles provided in English only. Audio quality is quite good. The track is balanced and there are no problems with any hiss or distortion. The score sounds quite good and dialogue is always clean, clear and easy to understand.

    Extras are comprised of three interviews, the first of which is The Dangers Ahead with writer/director Rubén Galindo Jr. He speaks for eighteen minutes about where the Mexican film industry was when the movie was made, having to work on a very low budget without the most experienced cast and crew, the ecological themes that run through the movie, his personal interest in genre films, the stunts and effects work and his thoughts on the state of the world these days.

    A Precautionary Tale interviews lead actress Rossana San Juan that runs eleven minutes. She talks about how she came to work with Galindo, her initial thoughts on the script and its themes, the film's environmental message, thoughts on her character, memories of the shoot and her thoughts on the movie overall.

    Lastly, It’s All In The Prophecy is an interview with actor Miguel Ángel Rodríguez. This twelve minute piece see him speak about how he got into acting for film and television, how happy he is with how The Demon Rat turned out, the themes that the movie explores and its prophetic elements, his relationship with Galindo and other projects that they've worked on together, choreographing his fight scenes, getting along with the cast and crew and more.

    As far as the packaging goes, Vinegar Syndrome offers this release, part of their Vinegar Syndrome Archive limited edition line which is available only from their website and a few select retailers, (limited to 3,000 copies and not to be re-pressed) with a hand numbered bottom loading slipcover designed by Robert Sammelin, a reversible cover sleeve and a double-sided poster.

    The Demon Rat - The Final Word:

    The Demon Rat is an entertaining slice of low budget sci-fi/horror from south of the border with a fun monster and some dedicated performances. The message, which is a good one, sometimes gets a bit lost in all of this, but it’s still a pretty enjoyable watch for fans of B-grade monster movie imports and the Blu-ray release from Vinegar Syndrome offers it up in great shape and with a nice selection of interviews documenting its history.



    Click on the images below, or right click and open in a new window, for full sized The Demon Rat Blu-ray screen caps!

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