Friday, January 28, 2011

Phase IV (1974)

4 / 5 Jan '11
Tagline: Adapt or die.
Directed by: Saul Bass
Written by: Mayo Simon, John Barry
Actors include: Nigel Davenport, Michael Murphy, Lynne Frederick
Genre: Sci-Fi, Horror
Length: 84 minutes/93 for the lost version
Banned: Nope

I give this credit for managing to be a relatively intelligent film about ants overtaking the world...I mean that is not an easy task. All this and it's quite fascinatingly filmed with ant's eye view and some techniques and visuals that one would just not expect. The plot is very similar to Them!, but this one seems less campy and more serious. We follow two researchers in the middle of nowhere (who work out of a building that looks like Epcot center) who are studying the mutations in the ant population. We watch as they slowly become immune to the poisons we use and how they evolve to communicate and that whole idea is a little frightening. We also meet a family who mainly die during a poison spread, only the teenage daughter survives and she ends up stuck with the researchers. It's definitely a creative take on an idea that would normally be laughable and it is very entertaining and well made. It's maybe a bit slow at the start but the plot is so compelling that it's quite gripping as it goes on. One of the better "scare humanity" sci-fi pictures of the '70s, also this was remade in the '2000s but I didn't see that version. Oh and there are 6 minutes missing from the end that are supposedly psychedelic and involve what the ants have intended for us which I am dying to see. Currently these minutes are completely lost, I'm crossing my fingers that someone will find them and release them, I'm so curious.

Availability:  On DVD

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