Music manager Danny (Tom Arnold) tricks ageing glam-metal band Sonic Grave into making a trip across the desert to play at a festival. The band thinks they are going to be appearing at Coachella in a bid to resurrect their careers but they’ve actually been booked at Noachella, a cut-price rival. They make a stop in Joshua Tree where they buy peyote off stranger Bigfoot (Michael Horse), who warns them that they are not to harm anything they come across while under the influence. Of course, that warning is ignored and soon the band is targeted by blood-thirsty, and ever-growing, ants.
To Dead Ant’s credit it doesn’t hide the type of film it is. The opening minutes feature a young girl being warned by Bigfoot, the same warning that’s issued to the band, and soon after she’s seen running (and stripping for no discernible reason) through the desert while being chased by a giant ant. It’s at this point the film had a choice to make; either embrace the silliness or try and do something a bit quirky and clever. Sadly it doesn’t choose either path and the end result is a bit of an underwhelming mess.
The film takes a little too long to get going after the attention-grabbing opening and you witness the band arguing about their music and fading appeal. While there are some funny lines that made me smile, I didn’t feel that Dead Ant fully embraced its own absurdity. It’s not helped by some seriously terrible special effects that manage to take you out of the escape the film should have been.
The one saving grace in the film is Rhys Coiro. While none of the characters are rounded out in any sort of memorable way, at least Coiro’s Pager makes an impression. He has the convincing swagger of a faded rockstar and his inappropriate interactions with a couple of groupies they pick up is amusing. To be fair no one in the cast gives a terrible performance, they just don’t have a great deal to work with.
Dead Ant could have been a modern day Eight Legged Freaks but sadly it’s just not very good. A strong cast is wasted in this B-movie misfire and the thin premise is stretched too far over the film’s near 90-minute run. Add to that the cheap special effects and Dead Ant doesn’t have a lot going for it. Films like this can be a lot of fun but Dead Ant is just plain bad.
Cast: Jake Busey, Tom Arnold, Sean Astin, Leisha Hailey, Rhys Coiro, Danny Woodburn, Michael Horse Director: Ron Carlson Writer: Ron Carlson Certificate: TBC Duration: 87 mins Released by: Signature Entertainment