Phase IV (1974) is a English movie. Saul Bass has directed this movie. Nigel Davenport,Michael Murphy,Lynne Frederick,Alan Gifford are the starring of this movie. It was released in 1974. Phase IV (1974) is considered one of the best Horror,Sci-Fi,Thriller movie in India and around the world.
Desert ants suddenly form a collective intelligence and begin to wage war on the inhabitants. It is up to two scientists and a stray girl they rescue from the ants to destroy them.
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I have seen this film numerous times, starting when I was ten yrs old and it has always had a peculiar fascination for me. It moves a bit slower than most modern viewers are used to but it is pretty compelling stuff.The ant photography is amazing. When I was a small boy and I heard about this I was expecting something along the lines of THEM! and anyone who has seen this knows it is about as far from that as you can imagine. But even as a youngster wanting something more un-subtle and action-oriented, I was not turned off by PHASE IV's slow art-film qualities.It is a shame Saul Bass never directed again because this was a valiant effort to do something a little different. I say bravo! Seen in widescreen for the first time after years of TV viewings and the panned & scanned VHS the new DVD of Phase IV is a revelation. The compositions and use of color are masterful.
This is one of the strangest, suspenseful movies I've ever seen. It must have been at lest 15 years since I last saw it, and I'm still looking around for it to appear on DVD, so that must mean something! What this movie lacks in action, it makes up for in suspense, and suspense you get! I'm baffled by the fact that this movie appears to be so little-known. The beauty of these kinds of movies, is that they are not so much plot-driven as well 'atmosphere-driven' (by lack of a better word), so you can watch several times without getting bored. The Thing is another movie with the same quality. Basically: highly recommended!
Despite the dated quality of some elements, particularly the costumes this picture is, in my book, the best killer bug movie of all time. Through the use of an almost nature documentary style of photographing the ants, we really get a new perspective on the film's six-legged antagonists. There's something totally raw about the way these ants act and are shot alongside the inexorable, almost plodding pace of the piece that makes Phase IV seem amazingly, terrifyingly real. The performances by the human actors are very much in the wooden, gee-whiz style of older sci-fi but here it works. The ants are a silent, almost invisible, killer. Their creeping terror, when cut against the classic characterization of the chisel-chinned hero and the bearded professor, illustrates that the best that humanity has to offer against the threat might not be enough. A hard-to-find favorite.
Of course Bass, who as you know is Mr. Title Sequence Animator (Hitchcock, Golden Arm, Goodfellas...) is not what you'd call an Actor's Director. But while I won't say that the wooden vagueness of the dialogue scenes was deliberate, I will say that it is entirely functional. You don't even see an actor for the first ten minutes - you see extended macro-photography of (real) ants plotting to take over the world, and THEY are brilliantly characterized. That lead-in clarifies that what we are watching is some kind of experimental film; which is reinforced by the bizarre abstract obelisks the ants construct for their nefarious designs, not to mention the repeated shots of ants crawling out of holes in people's palms - hmmm where have I seen THAT before? But it's not arid or obscure - it's gripping and extremely creepy. Yes, the characters vague out over time - what starts as a classic 50s sci-fi study-them-or-blow-them-up debate becomes lost in panic and impotence, and the teenage girl they rescue barely enters the foreground long enough to establish a character. And yes, this absolutely serves the material, as these researchers find out that they're in the petri dish themselves: lab rats don't have personalities. The scene where the lone ant gathers the dead is absolutely terrifying, because it evokes sympathy and empathy: pesticide as inter-species class war. And the 'happy' ending is anything but, and is spectacularly perverse, wrong in exactly the right way. The lights come up on you shaking your head in astonishment.
A fairly unknown SF film, but I would definitely recommend it. It's in typical seventies style: the world is doomed, the human race has messed up, and now we pay the price. Well, what else is new, right? The things a lot of these seventies movies predicted are now becoming reality (global warming in Soylent Green), earthquakes, disasters, diseases, you name it. Even the world is run by damn dirty apes now! That is why I always enjoy these movies, including "minor" classics such as the Andromeda Strain, Omega Man and Phase IV. Phase IV tells us what a lot of scientists know already: insects will survive us all, they are intelligent, inventive and indestructible. This movie tries to tackle the subject in a quite serious fashion (no giant rubber monsters here), and perhaps that's is why is has slowly vanished into movie limbo: it's not a spectacular and exciting movie, it tells us what could happen (and in a very grim and scary atmosphere). It's this reality that makes it exciting, not all the overload of effects and action people expect today. I liked the movie a lot, and sincerely hope it gets a DVD release. With all the crap they put out these days, isn't there some room for quality and intelligent stories? I actually saw the movie during its theatrical release, and believe me, this one belongs on DVD!