04th Mar2019

Glasgow Frightfest 2019: ‘Dead Ant’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Tom Arnold, Sean Astin, Martin Blasick, Natasha Blasick, Jake Busey, Rhys Coiro, Leisha Hailey, Michael Horse, Joi Liaye, David A. Lockhart, Nick Mason, Amber Martinez, Michelle Campbell, Angelica Cassidy, Ewart Chin | Written by Ron Carlson, Hank Braxtan, Dan Sinclair | Directed by Ron Carlson


Ron Carlson, director of the 2009 lesbian vampire film Life Blood and 2011’s “shockumentary” Midgets vs. Mascots (which I liked if nobody else did), teams with Hank Braxton, whose film Snake Outta Compton has just hit DVD here in the UK and who worked with Ron Carlson (with Carlson taking the lead) in the 2015 killer-bear movie Maneater, aka Unnatural for Dead Ant, a ridiculous monster movie in the style of Mike Mendez’s Big Ass Spider and 50s creature feature Them!

The 1989 ‘one-hit-wonder’ glam-metal band Sonic Grave embark on a trip to the No-chella rock festival with their long-suffering manager in the hopes of a comeback. Making a detour to Joshua Tree to score some peyote, their carefree psychedelic pit stop soon upsets the balance of desert nature and they find themselves fighting an army of flesh-eating ants. Worse the antsy bugs keep increasing in size as the band hurtles towards their last desperate gig.

Honestly you’d think you know what you’re in for with ANY modern giant bug flick, even moreso when it comes from the duo of Carlson and Braxton… Something stupid, dumb, sometimes hilarious and a lot of fun. However, to assume anything would make an ass out “u” and me… And would certainly make an ass out of the audience for this film as – despite any promise gleaned from those involved – Dead Ant is a dull, unfunny, take on the big bug genre; making a lot of those similar-themed Syfy channel movies look like masterpieces in comparison. In fact I’d rather watch a Syfy creature feature, like Lavalantula or Arachnoquake, over this any day of the week.

If you REALLY want to see how these types of films should be done, just check out Mike Mendez’s aforementioned Lavalantula or Big Ass Spider! At least Mendez knows how to walk the fine line between genres, no matter what the subject matter; always striking the right balance of horror and fun, even when it comes to dodgy CGI monsters; and never – as Dead Ant does – leaning so far into the laughs that the film descends into absurdity… And not the good kind of absurdity either.

A film made for the late-night “beer and a movie” cult film crowd, Dead Ant is EXACTLY that, a film made to target a specific audience in the most paint-by-numbers way possible. Either that or Carlson wrote an entire film around the joke of saying “Dead Ant, dead ant, dead ant, dead ant…” to the Pink Panther theme tune! Honestly, I love a ridiculous monster movie as much as anyone – you only have to go back through the tons of reviews I’ve done for this type of genre fare to know that – but I just didn’t enjoy Dead Ant. I guess I’ll just stick Syfy channel fare in future, they’re a lot more fun.

* 1/5

Dead Ant screened at Glasgow Frightfest 2019 on Friday March 1st. The film comes to DVD courtesy of Frightfest Presents, under the title Giant Killer Ants on June 7th.


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