• Gareth Crook

Phase IV (1974) - 6/10

Updated: Dec 9, 2021

Who doesn’t love a 1970s sci-fi creature feature. Ants are taking over the world! Species communicating together, conspiring against humanity. If you don’t like creepy crawlies, this film isn’t for you. It’s full of macro shots of ants causing havoc. I’m forever itching. With it’s slightly psychedelic score and b-movie vibes. It’s very dated, but don’t hold that against it. I’m here largely as Saul Bass directs. If that raises your expectations, you’re going to be a little disappointed I’m afraid. A scientist and his helper head out to an abandoned remote desert town to study and stop this new phenomena, before it’s too late. Dr Hubbs (Nigel Davenport) is the heartless brains. You can tell from his queens English accent. James Lesko (Michael Murphy) is the fresh faced hip data specialist with all the gizmos and compassion… the American of course. Running experiments to figure out why the ants are amassing and attacking, there’s a tone of The Andromeda Strain but sadly no where near as cool. Soon the pair are alone in there their experimental dome, waging war on their tiny foe. Who turn out to be a lot more resourceful than they anticipated. There are some deviations from the simple plot, but not many. The hook I guess is that the ants work together, yet the humans struggle to. There’s some nice symbology stuff, but this never really gets explored. In fact it’s all rather thin, despite the ample exposition. Before long the experiments are forgotten and it’s survival of the fittest. It’s not a classic, but worth a watch if you like this sort of stuff. Ironically, the titles aren’t great.

6/10