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[...] If watching insects and other creepy-crawlies makes you squirm in your seat, Phase IV may not be for you. The film's first eight minutes are almost entirely comprised of ants scurrying around, often framed in close up, almost microscopic shots. This footage was the work of micro photographer Ken Middleham, who would focus his camera on the insect world a year later for William Castle s Bug. Such a realistic take on one of Mother Nature s smallest creatures is in stark contrast to similar science fiction fare of the period. Films like Them! or Empire of the Ants found their conflict by enlarging such critters to make them more overtly threatening. By keeping the insects a familiar size, Phase IV is able to remain planted in reality, while exploring topics that are anything but. The threat seems more eminent as the human race finds itself being threatened, not by being overpowered physically, but by being knocked down a step on the evolutionary ladder.
[...] While the narrative is admittedly not its strongest facet and many may find the film's plot a slow burn, the atmosphere and pace are deliberate and highly effective under the capable direction of Mr. Bass. Saul was a master at graphic design and knew exactly how and where to place images for optimal effect. With very little dialogue to work with, Saul let s the landscapes and environments help lead the plot along, pushing you deeper into the story. You can feel the heat and desperation of the desert town just as thick as you can sense the urgency within the two scientists as they bustle frantically around their research facility, anxiously looking for a way to lower the temperature.
Saul and writer Mayo Simon (Futureworld) were not about to leave you with any clear explanations either. Phase IV raises more questions than it answers, but does so with a clever hand, so as not to leave you feeling cheated. [...] Legend Films has presented Phase IV in a commendable 1.78:1 widescreen anamorphic transfer. Colors are strong and vibrate, with only few specks of grain and debris that appear to be normal aging of the source print. The mono English audio is easy to follow and complements Brian Gascoigne electronic score well. Dipping deep into the vaults at Paramount, Legend Films has thankfully plucked Phase IV, as well as a number of other genre titles, from obscurity, gratefully allowing them a second life on the digital format. Here s hoping that Paramount leaves that door propped open, as they have numerous added treasures that are ripe for rediscovery! --Jason McElreath of DVDDrive-In.com
I was amazed at how well the effects were done for the time and the great acting.
Also of note: this DVD offers little in the way of extras, presumably there aren't many regardless, but this isn't quite the selling point.
It should have been obvious when I had to sit through the agonizing long into clip of ants running around in their nests.
Phase IV is less flawed masterpiece than clumsy student film, occasionally relieved by striking visuals. Read morePublished 15 days ago by DoctorD
Cheesy and very much of its decade, but worthwhile to see what the cult status is all about.Published 1 month ago by David Mercer
If you discover this film (i stumbled upon it here at Amazon whilst looking for retro film treasures) you're apt to be very pleasantly surprised . Read morePublished 1 month ago by Hammer + Jazz
This was a very thought provoking movie, even though it was made a few decades ago, the idea that insects, ants specifically could come to dominate or have intelligence and... Read morePublished 2 months ago by In Lak'ech
I watch this movie in the mid 1970s and it stuck in mind and I was always looking for it and finaly found on dvd. Read morePublished 2 months ago by James barker
This is wonderful! I had never heard of it of course. Though I'm an enormous fan of this sort of thing, weird B movies. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Don From Indiana
painful to watch. i left multiple times and let it play.
1 star and i am being kind
really a cool movie , little slow at times but the ants are quite scary and the story line is very interesting. Loved the end even if it leaves you hanging.Published 3 months ago by OLDFAN
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