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Thursday, February 20, 2020

Dead Ant (2017)



My musical tastes stopped developing around the late eighties maybe the early nineties. I was a huge hair band fan and never got into the grunge crap that replaced it. If you have been reading my reviews here at Crappy Movie Reviews then you also know that I love monster movies. When I saw a movie about an aging hair band fighting giant ants, I had to check it out. This is in spite of the fact that it stars Tom Arnold, who normally annoys me to the point of wanting to bang my head against the wall. See what I did there? Head Banging… With that in mind I pulled up Amazon and rented Dead Ant the second I got home.

Arnold is the manager of an almost famous band that had one hit single, a power ballad. They are on the road to an attempted comeback playing a festival that is supposed to be the new big thing. Along the way they stop on an Indian reservation for peyote to help inspire them to write some new songs. They are warned that they should respect all things while on the reservation, but of course don’t. One of the band members kills an ant while high and is then killed by giant ants who attack the rest of the band when they are finished with him. No worries though, he was just the base player, so it won’t screw up the comeback too badly. The rest of the movie is them doing battle and cracking wise… the band not the ants. They finally make their escape sadly leading the swarm to the festival and a lot of new victims.

As much as I wanted to watch Dead Ant, I also expected to hate it. Mostly because Tom Arnold has a big part and I don’t find him funny at all. But I’ll be damned he is really funny in the movie. It is important to note that this is a comedy and not a serious monster movie. Then again if you watch the trailer that should be obvious. The action is quick, the jokes even quicker, and there isn’t a single slow spot for the duration. And I feel like I might be selling the monster movie portions of the flick short. This isn’t a gorefest but there are plenty of creature feature bits and kills to keep those fans satisfied. I’ll have more on that later.

Hair Metal to the rescue!
In addition to Arnold the cast also features Jake Busey as the lead singer of the band and a barely recognizable Sean Astin as the doomed bass player. Busey is entertaining and Astin mumbles and stumbles his way along under a huge wig and costume. Though he does have a funny line about being from “the Shire”. You guys do know that he was in Lord of the Rings, right? There are a lot of jokes flying in this movie and it was a good call to bring in some talented actors to deliver them. They land them far more often than not and that makes for a really funny flick.

The creatures are all CGI but look good on screen. It was clear that they put some effort into matching the digital work with what was happening with the actors which helped immensely. Most of the blood and gore happens offscreen and what we do get to see is played for laughs. Given the vibe that the rest of Dead Ant has that worked for me as a viewer. I found myself satisfied with both the creature and the kills in this one.

Horror Comedies are hard so when I find one that works, I want to make sure everyone knows about it. This one is an example of one that delivers the goods and deserves to be seen. It makes me sad that I hadn’t heard much about it and wished that I’d had the chance to see it in the theater. Track yourself down a copy and check it out. I highly recommend it.


© Copyright 2020 John Shatzer

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