Dead Ant is the creature feature we need right now. The story of a Spinal Tap-like group, Sonic Grave, that must band together when attacked by over-sized ants is escapism plain and simple. Ron Carlson‘s zany homage to 80’s hair bands and 50’s sci-fi horror, from a script by Hank Braxtan, Ron Carlson, and Dan Sinclair drips with self-aware humor and a sardonic wit that is as a rip roaring ride into crazy country with plenty of gore along the way.
Barreling across the desert like a silver bullet aimed at shooting life into their forgotten band, Sonic Grave is headed to the No-Chella music festival. Their hope is to debut their new song during their three-song set, and reignite interest in their work. The problem is that they haven’t had but one hit and it’s all that band manager Danny (Tom Arnold) can do to keep every conversation from erupting into threats of quitting. A stop for some peyote seems like a good idea for a little inspiration and, before you know it, the group wakes up in the middle of nowhere even less inspired for the mental trip. In fact, they can’t even find band member Art (Sean Astin) who seems to have disappeared on a soul quest. Too bad he has the keys to the truck.
It’s not long before the groupies that have followed them out into the desert Merrick (Jake Busey) and Pager (Rhys Coiro), the leads of the band, are at wits end when with each. Then the ants begin to attack. stranded, the rag tag group must use every tool at their disposal in defending themselves before they are carted off to the queen.”There’s 22,000 species of ants in the world right? But none on Antarctica” Merrick dryly muses suggesting they go there.
Once the film kicks in the laughs do not stop. This has to be one of Arnold’s best comedic turns since True Lies as he was given the freedom to ad-lib banter here and there adding to the absurdity of the situation. Leisha Hailey as Stevie the drummer is also wonderful, channeling abit of Parker Posey edginess and comic timing. Bigfoot (Michael Horse) and Firecracker (Danny Woodburn) play the indigenous desert dwellers whose warnings about harming nature go unheeded and play everything with a deadpan sarcasm that is exactly what you want to see.
Dead Ant is not a film meant to change your life. It’s not going to make you think. No, Dead Ant is a sharp-witted monster movie that would be perfectly at home at a drive-in on a hot summer night. This movie knows exactly what its strengths are (a good script, a great comedic cast, and a playful attitude) and pushed on them hard.
If you want goofy, crazy, funny, gory monster fun catch Dead Ant when you get a chance. You won’t regret it.