Here’s a little something about me you might not know: sometimes I’m a glutton for punishment, but not quite as much as I used to be. Years ago I had the tendency of buying up horror flicks that I knew nothing about and heard nothing about, simply because they were there and they were pretty cheap when I found them.
The problem with that is the majority of those movies I blindly purchased ranged from meh to downright terrible. And today, being a guest here at Drunk In A Graveyard, I wish to talk about one of those blind purchases I made. If anything, I hope that my talking about it will be therapeutic and help maintain the restraint I’ve developed since. So without further ado, let’s begin.
Ants (also known as It Happened at Lakewood Manor and Panic at Lakewood Manor) has a rather simple premise. A construction company doing some work near the Lakewood Manor resort unwittingly disturb a gigantic ant colony hidden there. The ants don’t take very kindly to this and begin attacking anybody who gets too close to them. These particular ants have poisonous bites form their mandibles which can cause death if enough of them climb on you and bite the shit out of you, which happens more than you might expect.
Yep, that’s really about it. There are a few boring and/or pointless subplots thrown in there, including: a rich dickbag businessman looking to buy the resort, some drifter lady who shows up and flirts with a guy there so she can take a shower, and a kid who is collecting bottles so he can recycle them for money and support his mother.
I think the worst part about those subplots, and even the main plot for that matter, is that I didn’t care about any of these characters. For the most part they were bland and uninteresting, and I had more or less the same indifference for those who died and those who survived. Except for a couple of instances when people were being monumentally stupid. Take for example the construction foreman who, after being unable to prove that the ants were causing people’s deaths, decides to get into his loader and further annihilates the ant colony’s home. This results in the ants going totally apeshit and lay siege to the resort, causing even more deaths. But hey, at least the foreman got his proof, right?
Something else that bothered me was that these ants were only as dangerous as plot convenience allowed. We find out later in the movie that these bites are only fatal if you are bitten by a lot of ants at once; otherwise the symptoms just range from nausea to wooziness to unconsciousness. And yet the ants killed a few grown adults while a few hundred ants were unable to kill the bottle collecting boy who was attacked while dumpster diving for bottles.
I think the thing that annoyed me the most was something that happened late in the movie. Because of the genius idea the construction foreman had in pissing off the ants, he along with a few others ended up being trapped in the resort with ants crawling around everywhere. Now, if these people moved quickly enough, they all could have just run out the front door before any of the ants could crawl on them, even with the hindrance of one of those people being in a wheelchair. But that would make too much sense. Also, were that entire part of the movie cut out, Ants would only have a running time of barely over an hour instead of the hour and a half we are exposed to.
That’s not to say that Ants is complete garbage. Though I mentioned the characters were uninteresting, the acting really wasn’t that bad for the most part. Suzanne Somers’ name is pretty prominent given that this was around the time of Three’s Company, but she really only has roughly 10 minutes of screen time all in all. Another big name actor Brian Dennehy was also cast, but he only shows up near the end of the movie, and he has less screen time than Somers. And another cool part about the movie, you get to see some cool close-up shots of some ants. Well, I thought it was pretty cool anyway.
Unfortunately, you can see close-ups of ants anywhere online or in books. So in the end, Ants is still a boring, pointless made-for-TV 70s movie that’s better left in the 70s. Unless of course you have a huge phobia of bugs crawling all over you, in which case it may freak the shit out of you, who knows? Actually, you know what? Screw that. There are still way better insect-themed movies out there that’ll creep the shit out of you bug-haters out there. Go watch those instead. Rest in peace my future tenants.
review by Gravedigger Glen