I first read about this movie in 2003 in Fangoria. Back when I still read that magazine anyway. I thought it was interesting that Stuart Gordon was making a different movie than I had already from him, since I had seen Re-Animator and Dagon previously. This flick was also put out by The Asylum. Yes, the same gents that gave us such gems as the C. Thomas Howell directed/starrer War Of The Worlds 2: The Next Wave, and Snakes On A Train. I’ve gained notoriety on the boards for being really nice about movies that most others think are crap. I can say right now that the 2 aforementioned Asylum titles do not earn any of my notorious goodwill. They’re both crap. King Of The Ants just may be the high point for this company.
The story starts off simple enough with a guy named Sean Crawley painting a house as he just does odd jobs for a living, and doesn’t know what he’s meant to do in life. He meets a guy named Duke (played very well by George Wendt) who contacts him later and arranges a meet at a golf course with a shady businessman named Matthews (played brilliantly by the drunken Baldwin brother Daniel). Matthews assigns Sean to follow a man named Gatley played by Ron Livingston.
What follows is 2 disturbing murders, and sequences of torture that make Sean borderline retarded (or is he faking it?), and at one point, a feral creature. The whole performance by the main actor is phenomenal. There sequences of torture also have increasingly bizarre hallucinations that involve the wife of Gatley played by Kari Wuhrer. The first starts out like a standard porno (yes, she gets naked, gents) and the following ones have her don a prosthetic penis, and eat shit. Yes, it’s that strange. The climax features even more gruesome and brutal violence dished out to those that deserve it. Although the most brutal comeuppance for one of the villains unfolds midway through. In the end, Sean realizes what he’s meant to do, and what his reason for being is.
Main actor Chris L. McKenna does an amazing job as Sean Crawley. This guy deserved some kind of award for his performance. George Wendt relishes playing a villain, from which I’d imagine stems from him playing a nice guy for so long on Cheers. Another great character actor appears in the film. VERNON WELLS. Bennett himself appears as one of the villains, but is a nice play against type, he’s the “nice” villain.
This is obviously not family entertainment, and it’s as dark as can be. This is a damn fine film from a director best known for a film in which a severed head attempts to eat a girl’s honeypot.
Rene’s song of the day: “Mr. Tambourine Man” by The Byrds.
Thanks for reading my blog and see you next time!