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King of the Ants
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King of the Ants (2003)

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Plot Summary:
"A story of everyday violence and survival at a depth of character that perceives no act impossible."

Review by
Phil Davies Brown
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Review Date: 21 July 2004 My Rating: out of 5


Stuart Gordon's latest effort had many people baffled as it appeared to be a killer ant movie. In fact it is without doubt one of the best films that I have seen this year.

Sean Crawley is a drifter who currently makes a fast buck by house painting. A chance encounter with an electrician (a very different performance from George 'Norm' Wendt) leads to some work, but what Sean thought was going to be a paint job turns out to be completely different.

Ray Mathews (Daniel Baldwin) wants Sean to be a hitman. Young and feeling full of bravado, Sean agrees.

The hit goes disastrously wrong and that is only the beginning. Sean Crawley is in way over his head and does nothing to help the situation by further infuriating and antagonising Mathews.

What ensues is the infliction of brutality and it is not easy to watch.

The film captured my attention almost immediately and held onto it for the entire duration.

A wonderful story was excellently brought to life by a cast who truly gave their all. Chris McKenna was so convincing that I felt like I knew him personally, he was just an average guy like any of my friends. He had the hard task of making sure that the audience cared about 'the bad guy' and did a great job. An uncredited Ron Livingston played a very different character, and almost brought a tear to my eye. Kari Wuhrer who has always been a favourite of mine, was sensational completely giving her all, body and soul to create a character that we truly care for. Daniel Baldwin was suitably evil, and who knew that Norm from Cheers could be so vile!!

The film is so simplistic yet compelling because of it's frightening story. Many people might quibble that it is not really horror, but the film is disturbingly real and many scenes have the power to make you gag.

My only quibble is the fact that we do not know what happens to Susan by films end.

King of the Ants had a troubled process of making it from novel to screen and I am so glad that it was made independently as it has been allowed to retain it's artistic sensibilities and really does push boundaries.

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