It’s time to look at another animal based horror film. Fortunately it’s not about birds or dogs as that would give off even more warning bells right out of the gate. As it stands, the film actually manages to avoid any real violence against the ants which is pretty cool. Of course, we do get a montage which doesn’t help the film’s case but one thing at a time.
The film starts off with a wealthy member of corporate heading over to a family hotel to buy it out. The current owner doesn’t like this idea but she is getting very old and won’t be able to stand up to the power for very long. It doesn’t help that her daughter will not continue the legacy either. As the old lady gets ready to relent, the hotel gets overrun by bugs. Ants to be precise! They are biting everyone and plan to eventually take over the building. It is only a matter of time before they finally claim victory. How long can Mike The Construction Worker protect the hotel crew?
One thing you’ll notice right away is that the film relies an incredible amount on your suspense for disbelief. The Ants aren’t exactly subtle as they swarm everyplace they can find, but nobody ever notices them. Clearly they all need glasses as you can usually tell if around 6-10 Ants are cluttered, much less hundreds. Whether it be the kid in the dumpster or the cook in the kitchen, you can’t possibly expect us to believe that they didn’t notice hundreds of ants. That’s just not possible and the film probably knows it. It’s just that there is not really any other way to get the ants into place except by having them walk there. The film should have had them crawl in at night or something like that since the darkness would give a better reason as to why they couldn’t be spotted.
We also can’t forget the plot convenience of the ants deciding not to attack the guy who was trying to shut the place down. They mentioned that the ants won’t hurt you if you don’t move but this guy was lightly aggravating then by moving his hand around and yet they didn’t bite. I suppose they were just smart enough to realize that attacking someone like this just wasn’t worth it? I dunno, it’s a bit of a stretch but if you see this as a very sentient takeover by the Ants, then I guess it helps a bit.
As mentioned earlier, there is a montage where the ants destroy a bunch of other animals which definitely wasn’t a good idea. I don’t want to see them challenging a bunch of innocent animals. Keep their victims human, but don’t throw in the animals. It’s just not right, not right at all. I suppose it’s a good time to talk about the characters. Certainly an intriguing cast, but not a good one I’m afraid.
First off we have one of the supporting construction guys. He was tending to the front yard when a girl shows up and basically asks if he’s free. You can take that two different ways, if he’s not busy right now or if he’ll fool around with anyone. He basically says yes to both and their terrible/out of nowhere romance begins. Not only do these characters not add anything to the film but they aren’t even fun. I don’t see the point of including them here and that was probably a mistake on the film’s part. Another pair of big characters were the corporate takeover guy and the girl he was with. They certainly don’t get along very well as the guy constantly insults her intelligence. She always gets him to half apologize but this happens at least 3 times so talk about de ja vu. His corporate side was fun as he always seemed to have the edge when it came time for the talks. He was good at lying to a person’s face with no remorse. You can certainly tell that corporate taught him well. You know how his character arc is going to end right from the start but at least it’s a fun ride. He’ll stand up to anybody!
The old lady who wanted to keep the house was decent. At least she knew that if she sold the house it would probably be the end of the building. Still, it’s not like you can keep it forever anyway, eventually she would be forced to let it go. While she may have made the climax a little more difficult for the heroes, it wasn’t exactly her fault so she can’t be blamed for that. Her daughter is the main person running the show while the lady rests and she’s not a bad character. Her romance with Mike is pretty bad though. The trope of someone winning an argument by pulling the romance card just isn’t good. Mike had a good reason for barging into the hotel and should have just explained it better. Mike has a big role in the film and could probably be called the lead. He does figure out the true culprit of the attacks before anyone else so I’ll give him some kudos there. Beyond that, he doesn’t really have much character and I can’t say that I liked him. He does ultimately back off from the environmental protection guys and Mike could have handled the situation better.
The climax is another part of the film where you will have to shake your head. Ants have begun to surround the house so the main characters are trapped inside. It’s unfortunate for them, but they knew the risks. The problem is that they should be able to just run out of the house. The only decent case you can make here is that it would be tough for the old lady, but Mike could have carried her. The Ants are numerous but as long as you’re careful you should be okay. One character does run out of the house, but he puts his hand on the rail which is a big no no and then trips. Since the other characters know to respect the Ants, they’d run down the stairs without grabbing anything. It’s not like the Anta can fly and while they could jump off the walls, they didn’t do that in any of the other scenes so why start now? Don’t even get me started on how slowly they were getting into the helicopter. It’s a matter of life and death, you’d think that they would show more initiative. Then sitting still and hoping the Ants wouldn’t bite ends up being the right answer.
These Ants are mad because of the environment so I figure they would throw in some bites anyway. They don’t care about how normal Ants would act, these are Eco-Warriors and they will die fighting. The whole climax revolves around you believing that these are just normal ants again. It’s also a big gamble that the ants don’t bite when they are blasted by the sleeping gas. I certainly wouldn’t have gone along with the plan and I can safely say that I prefer not to have Ants crawling all over me.
Overall, Ants isn’t a very good film. In fact, it’s a bad one. It’s filled with so many leaps in logic that you will be wondering why the film made the decisions it did. If it really wanted to trap he heroes in the house, it should have had more Ants on the ground to show that with every step they would get bitten. Maybe the budget had something to say about it as well though. Seeing Ants crawling around on everyone definitely isn’t all that enjoyable and I think a film about any kind of insect like this would be rather difficult to get behind. Better luck next time I suppose. You’re better off watching THEM.