Starring Tom Arnold, Rhys Coiro, Jake Busey
Directed by Ron Carlson
They’ve been known to ruin picnics, infiltrate your homes in search of sugary snacks, and can usually be neutralized via gigantic containers of toxic spray…no, I’m not talking about your neighbor’s kids! I’m talking about ants! Those nasty little insects that seem to travel in hordes of thousands and have been known to build and maintain quite the impressive stretch of farmland. However, in director Ron Carlson’s campy new film, Dead Ant, these bothersome bugs have been boosted to the size of baby strollers, and have the attitude of a pack of angry soccer moms. Hose your ankles down with some OFF! spray (commercial plug at no extra charge) and tuck your socks into your boots, cause we’re goin’ deep into the desert for this review…anyone allergic to insect bites, while we’re at it?
Drowned-out glam rock band “Sonic Grave” (they’ve also had a few other name changes) are on the road headed to their latest gig, a one-off fest from the noteworthy Coachella, laid out by their manager Danny Blue (Arnold in a hilarious role). Consisting of lead singer Merrick (Busey), Pager (Coiro) Art (Sean Astin with a wig that defies logic) and Stevie (Leisha Hailey), this quartet is searching for that magical concoction of inspiration that will fire up the band once again and hopefully bring them back to notoriety…or they could just wig out on the backwoods peyote they scored from a mysterious native medicine man by the name of “Bigfoot.” Aside from baking in the sun BAKED beyond belief, they’ve got a small insectual dilemma to contend with, and it came with a stern pre-festivity warning from Bigfoot himself – don’t inflict harm on even the smallest of life…or something to that effect.
Well, you know this chemically-altered clump of stoned-out rockers couldn’t resist the urge to stomp some ants once they started bitin’, and now the rest of the colony has come a-callin’, and looking for some revenge. Now I’ll admit when first peeking at the cast listing and premise of this one, my already skewered thoughts were dreading this like a free vasectomy from a back-alley surgeon, but after checking it out I can honestly say while not the most plausible of subject matter, this one’s still pretty friggin fun to lay eyes on. Goofy instances ensue when the band members are holed up in a defensive position while the ants run amok outside their door, and while better judgment would’ve suited me to maybe bypass the remainder of the film I’m glad I stuck it out to witness the sheer lunacy that fills up the back-end of the runtime. It’s not the most ground-breaking or side-splitting of humor that works, but it’s the way that it’s delivered to us is what makes it appealing to the comic ear.
The only thing flakier than the dialogue here is the abundance of CGI, which I usually detest, but for this particular presentation it just seemed to aptly fit inside the film so very well and while some could see it as a distraction I look at it as an enhancement – what is this crazy world coming to? At the end of it all Dead Ant might not conjure the admiration of the masses, but it’s a nice tribute to the creature flix of back in the day and is best served up with some hard-rocking buds and some cold brews – turn up the volume and let this one PLAY LOUD!