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The film is very old. I am 98% it's in black and white. 95% that it's even a silent movie. It was probably from a Scandinavian country.

The Hero and his girl fight against rats that can take human form.

It's quite easy to remember by the signature trope: When his girlfriend wants to have sex with him, he smells a rat. (SNCR.) No woman would ever ask for sex, he immediately realizes she is a rat impostor. Those were the times....

I Googled around to no end (although the title might be different from what I thought, which was something like "Rat King"). Honk if you recognize the movie and maybe even the original literary source (which surely exists). My first idea was to look for something else by the director of Häxan, but no match.

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    What does SNCR stand for?
    – Clockwork
    Commented Sep 11, 2023 at 19:52
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    Do you remember the original language or was Scandinavian the closest you could narrow it down to?
    – fez
    Commented Sep 11, 2023 at 20:06
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    @Clockwork: I mistyped SCNF :-) Commented Sep 12, 2023 at 10:24
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    Lol. That isn't any clearer acronymfinder.com/SCNF.html Commented Sep 12, 2023 at 10:26
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    TIL that SCNR stands for Sorry Could Not Resist.
    – zovits
    Commented Sep 12, 2023 at 14:04

1 Answer 1

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This is Izbavitelj (1976), also known as The Rat Savior.

A poor writer discovers that a species of rats has banded together to impersonate humans and supplant them unnoticed, in a manner reminiscent of the transformations in Eugene Ionesco's Rhinoceros, or the covert conspiracy of pod-people in The Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

From a review:

Izbavitelj – also known as The Rat Saviour – is a 1976 Yugoslavian horror science-fiction fantasy film directed by Krsto Papić.

Based on Russian Alexander Grin’s 1920’s novel Pacolovac (“The Ratcatcher”), Izbavitelj (literally ‘saviour’ or ‘redeemer’) sees down and out writer, Ivan Gajski (Ivica Vidovic) not only struggling to have his novels published but also being turfed out of his lodgings.

Left to sleep on benches in cold Zagreb, he meets pretty local Sonja Boskovic (Mirjana Majurec) selling books on the street. Forming a bond, he takes her number, little realising the circumstances he will use it. Taking to park benches for the night, he bumps into an acquaintance who suggests a boarded-up bank as a better and safer place to bed down. Using an excuse to find out where Sonja lives, he explores the cavernous rat-infested building, stumbling across a huge banquet attended by a strange cabal, whom he overhears plotting to kill Sonja’s father, a Professor.

Accidentally alerting the group to his presence, he escapes and is later rescued by the professor himself who reveals that the group he discovered is a half-human/half-rat collective who are plotting to take over society. Ivan agrees to help the professor by obtaining the chemicals needed for him to make the formula he believes will rid the world of this vermin.

Though the police don’t believe his story when he alerts them (and indeed no sign of the rat people can be found), the pair continue to develop their serum but the professor is mysteriously killed before the experiment can be completed. Led by the looming, shadowy Rat Saviour, the group silently stalk Ivan and Sonja and all looks lost until an unlikely ally, the town mayor, steps forward to help the pair avoid being gnawed to death…but is everything truly as it seems?

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    Bingo! That very much sounds like it (and my memory evidently was for the rats...eh, birds). Have to rewatch to be 100% sure, but the description rings more than one bell. Commented Sep 12, 2023 at 10:30

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