Wednesday, Feb 21, 2018
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Screamfest Review: ‘Dead Ant’ World Premiere

By: J. Carlos Menjivar

The giant ants in the science fiction classic Them! (1954) were born out of atomic age anxiety as the images of Hiroshima and Nagasaki remained fresh in the cultural zeitgeist. In 2017’s Dead Ant giant killer ants are not born from the aftermath of geopolitical conflict, but instead from drug fueled debauchery.

Glam metal rock band Sonic Grave are about to embark on a wild comeback trip as they head to “no-chella”, the alternative distant cousin of Coachella, under the guidance of Danny (Tom Arnold)– their foul mouthed manager. But before art can happen, the band makes a stop near Joshua Tree and visit Bigfoot (Michael Horse) and Firecracker (Danny Woodburn), providers of the gnarliest peyote in the desert. This is no ordinary hallucinogenic, there are rules, and Bigfoot makes it clear to many fun seeking individuals that there are dire consequences to messing up the balance of their trip. There is a time and place to take the drug and the most important rule, not to hurt a single living thing, falls on deaf ears.

L-R: Tom Arnold as Danny and Rhys Coiro as Pager; ‘Dead Ant’

Ron Carlson’s Dead Ant does not know how to stop, emulating the party animal thrills of the glam rock heyday, taking the party out of the Sunset Strip and transplanting it in the desert. Booze, babes, and foul language are the film’s mainstays providing many laughs, especially from the likes of Jake Busey as the nostalgic lead-singer Merrick, longing for the days of groupies and make-up and Tom Arnold who does his thing, shooting expletives and quips at lightning speed. Things get wild when giant killer ants intrude on the group’s fun (or is it the other way around?) and the fun doesn’t stop there, the film parties it up until the film’s audacious musical finale.

The film also stars: Sean Astin, Leisha Hailey, Rhys Coiro, Sydney Sweeney,  Joi Liaye, and Cameron Richardson.

Dead Ant had its World Premiere, and was the opening night film, at Screamfest 2017 at the Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood, CA. Check out the film’s trailer¬† below.¬†

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