Based on The Visitor by Chauncey G. Parker III, this movie is totally worth watching just to see Peter Weller pretty much be in a movie by himself for long stretches, going absolutely ful nutzoid at the premise of having a rat in his walls. If you’ve said, “I want a movie where rats attack people while they’re arrdvarking and children at birthday parties,” Of Unknown Origin is your movie. I mean, there was one point where I had to stop this movie and just catch my breath and be amazed that it exists.
George P. Cosmatos may be known today as the father of Beyond the Black Rainbow and Mandy director Panos Cosmatos, but he was a more than dependable director, turning out blockbuster fare like Rambo: First Blood Part II, Cobra, Leviathan and Tombstone.
Bart Hughes (Weller) stays behind to work on the job that will get him a promotion while his wife (Shannon Tweed) and child go away on vacation. He just redid their brownstone, so this should be a great weekend for him, but no, a rat shows up and that’s the story. Ninety minutes or so of a rat and Peter Weller descends into destructive dementia and screams stuff like, “Watch and weep, you furry f**ker” and “Keep it up. Just keep it up. I’ve got friends in Jersey.”
There’s also a moment where he tells everyone at a dinner party that no one knows where rats come from — Of Unknown Origin — and no one corrects him and calls BS and explains that they come from Asia, but then again, no one had Wikipedia in 1983 and they had to figure out how to get the title into the movie.