Trapped in the house by her agoraphobia, Carol endures a toxic and suffocating marriage. But when a rat invades her home, she is forced to face up to her situation and deal with the vermin herself. A dark comedy about fighting back.

  • Sarah Gordon
  • Sarah Gordon
  • Siobhán Barbour
  • Abigail McGibbon
    Key Cast
  • Dan Gordon
    Key Cast
  • Terence Keeley
    Key Cast
  • George Barnes
  • Jonny Delaney
    Music Composer
  • Clare Marquess
    Sound Design
  • Edna Walters
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Revenge, Dark Comedy
  • Runtime:
    16 minutes 47 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    October 18, 2021
  • Production Budget:
    2,250 GBP
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Belfast Film Festival
    United Kingdom
    November 6, 2021
    Official Competition Selection
  • Phlegrean Film Festival
    November 13, 2021
    Nominated for Best Screenplay and Best Actress
  • EdiPlay International Film Festival
    November 6, 2021
    Official Selection
  • Newcastle International Short Film Festival
    December 10, 2021
    Official Selection
  • North East International Film Festival
    United Kingdom
    November 21, 2021
    Official Selection
  • Capricorn Film Festival
    January 16, 2022
    Australian Premiere
    Best Short Film Director
  • Mayo International Film Festival
    February 26, 2022
    Official Selection
  • Spokane International Film Festival
    United States
    February 5, 2022
    Official Selection
  • Catalyst Film Festival
    April 2, 2022
    Official Selection
  • Fastnet Film Festival
    May 25, 2022
    Official Selection
  • Capital Irish Film Festival
    United States
    March 5, 2022
    Official Selection
Director Biography - Sarah Gordon

Sarah is a Belfast based writer and director. She spent last year developing her first feature script (‘POKES’) with Northern Ireland Screen’s ‘New Writer Focus’. She has just been selected for BBC network’s ‘Drama Room’ development scheme 2022.
During lockdown she was commissioned to write and co-direct one of six short comedy films for a project called ‘Splendid Isolation’ (BBC4/BBC NI - nominated for the Royal Television Society NI Best Drama Award; and nominated for a Celtic Media Award).
Other shorts include ‘Shopped’ (dir. Jon Kesselman, produced by BBC Writersroom set for broadcast on BBC3 next year) and ‘Surprise’ (co-directed with her dad, Dan Gordon and produced by Brassneck).
‘RAT’ is her first solo directing credit.

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Director Statement

During lockdown there was a rat problem where we live in North Belfast. Every house on our street had rats. My husband and I could hear them scratching in the walls. It sounded like they were moving furniture. Pest control couldn't help because they weren't making house calls during COVID, so we laid heavy duty traps. We caught four but there was another that got caught and escaped, twice - too big for the trap. We would hear it under the floor. We could hear snatches of domestic arguments filtering through open windows and it made me wonder about breaking points for unhappily trapped couples. I started thinking of a story about a woman who was trapped in a bad situation made worse by rats.

My influences when writing RAT include Roald Dahl, Edward Gorey, Hilaire Belloc's 'Cautionary Tales' - stories in which justice is swift but tragically indiscriminate, with no convenient exceptions for the protagonist. Carol's revenge sets her free, but at a cost. I love desperate characters who make mistakes and misunderstand things, and I love the line between comedy and tragedy. The universe lets Carol off the hook but she doesn't get away scot-free. Another influence is the British tv show 'Inside No. 9' - darkly comic with good twists and satisfying stories, which explores heightened worlds populated by grotesque characters.

I wanted RAT to show Carol's claustrophobic world - a heightened, hyper-aware state in which anxiety crests and falls like a wave. The wide-angle lenses give a distorted, slightly grotesque feel. All the men in the film wear hi-visibility clothing, where Carol mostly wears grey, doing her best not to be noticed, because she doesn't see herself as the main character.

In terms of score I was listening to the soundtracks of anxiety-driven films - Ariel Marx's Shiva Baby and Jon Brion's Punch-Drunk Love. I wanted Carol's experience to feel like the low-grade panic of a to-do list you're trying not to forget - fresh cortisol rising every time you remember another thing you're supposed to have done.

P.s. We caught the big rat in the end. Pictures available on request.