Director Marko Mäkilaakso (War of the Dead ) makes a lovely tribute and homage to previous creature features of both the recent past and those of long ago, including Starship Troopers (1997) and Eight Legged Freaks (2002) and of course Them! (1954), in addition it wears its badge of b-movie tie-ins proudly, never taking itself too seriously. Marko assisted in the script along with Hank Woon Jr, and Trent Haaga (Deadgirl ) but the basis of the story actually comes from a videogame of the same title from 1992 by the company Cinemaware. The games graphics typically for the era, from Amiga for the Commodore International, an action-based various game concepts, that other horror films have used, most well-known Resident Evil (2002) from graphic adventure. The movies use comedy and horror as well as some sci-fi to convey their story while the subtext is based on excessive drinking, buddies, and secret military base, that received distribution from The Orchard in 2018.
The movie opens quickly with an action sequence already in the moment of happening, it kind of reminds one of Lethal Weapon 2 (1989) a firefight between a group of soldiers in a bunker against unknown enemy forces. Suddenly it switches to the main-story to an offensive motocross champion Lukas (Alex Mills) and his shy mechanic buddy Brian (Harry Lister Smith) who pick-up their smart classmate Lisa (Vanessa Grasse (Leatherface )) and together to the Nevada desert to party. It’s some sort of alcohol infused party supplying music, motorcycles, girls and did we mention booze., This is an opportunity for Brian to get closer to his dream-girl Lisa, however the key to the movie comes from the chemistry between buds Lukas and Brian, Lukas, careful, reckless, drunken buzz state and Brian is calmer and more serious, yet they got each other’s backs, solid wingmen. Our two heroes discover a secret military structure, same place from earlier in the movie, once inside it’s a labyrinth of catwalks, stairs and tunnels, but suddenly they try to protect themselves from a giant ant before Lisa comes to the rescue and kills the beast, however it used its antenna to call for reinforcements, and the trio is on the run from the ants. Once inside another laboratory room everything becomes clearer that it’s a research lab for ‘Project Them’ spliced alien DNA with then harmless tiny ants, all from a meteor and a little bit of radiation and wham, you have the b-movie reference back to Them! (1954), under the observation of Dr. Renard (Mark Arnold, who some might recall him as Mick in Teen Wolf ). It’s from this point we see a reference to other horror creature movies, even to The Wraith (1986) an enjoyable romp in the desert.
There’s plenty of fun action sequences, as well as comical lines and gory moments, but it’s a b-movie movie, full of homages and film references. The movie uses the budget of $1-million, very effectively, with situation gags, some cliché moments and then likely on one of the best locations, that can mirror Nevada, being in Rodalquilar, Andalucía, Spain, an abandoned cola mine plant, while using drones to give excellent aerial shots, showing the advancement of technology into filmmaking for small independent projects.
As most know, there’s a lot movies of late that fall into the horror-comedy realm, some marvelous and others so-so, then a group flounder badly, this hits middle of the road, only because it’s not really a comedy, it contains comical lines, as well as a few wooden performances, but the pleasure of the entertainment comes from the story concept and nods to creature feature and b-movie aspects in the story line. Face it when giant ants crave the taste for beer, and there’s subtitles of them talking, you know it’s going to be a good time to indulge oneself for 90-minutes.
IMDb Rating: 4.3/10
Baron’s Rating: 4.5/10