Directed by: Wes Anderson
Distributed by: Netflix
Written by Alexander Reams
The idea of Wes Anderson and the horror genre is not one that would seem to marry well, however in his final Dahl short, “The Rat Catcher,” Anderson slowly paints a picture of grotesque imagery through the eponymous Rat Catcher (Ralph Fiennes) as he monologues ad nauseam (quiet literally) about how alike he is to a rat, why he will be the one to catch the rat, and how he will go about the rat catching. However, the moment the Editor (Richard Ayoade) says he is a “rat” he rejects any possibility. Ayoade is the main narrator of this story, with Claud (Rupert Friend) as the color commentator of sorts. The pair bear witness to the Rat Man’s ways, and when they turn on him it comes just in time. Fiennes knows his performance has to be eccentric and annoying, but he never outstays his welcome. The look of this film is by far the most subdued, in favor of skillful lighting during the final showdown between the Rat Man and the Rat that is very reminiscent of Hammer horror films. It’s definitely the weirdest of the bunch, but for Fiennes’s zany performance alone it’s worth it.
The shorts that Anderson adapted for Netflix has not only introduced many viewers to new Dahl stories but also provided an opportunity to experiment for Anderson as a filmmaker. Through each film, he has experimented with a particular genre, whether that’s straight thriller/suspense in “Poison,” wonderfully black comedy in “The Swan” or the brilliant evocation of Hammer horror in “The Rat Catcher.”