Essentially a film about three morons who get taken hostage by ants. Boring, stupid, some (unintentionally) funny dialogue and not much else. However the footage of the ants was cool enough and well shot, the whole film really didn't do much for me.
Indulgent opening (like the original ending,) and the cut ending is abrupt. Yet, Phase IV doesn't go for the thrills of most killer insect films, but instead, a moody and atmospheric, subtle slow-crawl approach. These parts can be condensed, the characters are archetypes, but it doesn't spoon feed information, which is equally admirable and pretentious (odd for a nature amok film, but that's why it's worth watching.)
2 1/2 out of 5 stars. The allure of the Saul Bass direction credit quickly wore off after about 15 minutes of ants close ups. The effects were badly dated and the characters were blank. Despite the siege plot I've seen dozens of times before and the somewhat nonsensical ending I didn't mind it by the end. I guess I was expecting more out of Bass.
Cool concept and some amazing visuals but not really much to say after that. I really just wish it stopped after the first 10 minutes. Those 10 minutes owned my ass and are the main reason I'm giving it three stars! Still, well worth at least one viewing
An entomological sci-fi masterpiece, turning one ubiquitous creature into a threat on par with aliens. This is incredibly unique and, if you know much about ants, not far off from what they are capable of. The mixture of colors with the camerawork of a Discovery Channel piece makes this a one-of-a-kind experience. The original ending (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=beLpsWaUDNk) is worth seeing directly afterwards.
Criminally underrated. Tripped me OUT as a kid and now too. Phase IV is "one of the most beautifully photographed films, of any genre, ever made. Despite some amateurish elements, it has a significant wow factor. Middleham’s cinematography is absolutely stunning and there are moments in the film that are truly visionary." - Marc Campbell, Dangerousminds.net
A precursor to Alien? Heavyweight Saul Bass' creeping story is a masterpiece threatening the audience with Commie Ants, the Apollo Program & Silent Spring. Watch in terror & psychedelia the opening 15 minute sequence where ants upstage the human cast with theory and benevolence - sacrificing themselves for the greater good completely overwhelming the human story in this oddity. The camera work & close-ups are sublime
As might be expected from Mr. Bass, this film is at its best when dealing with miniature drama. The insect scenes are rather astonishing; surprisingly moving and lacking the documentary feel which, to me, seemed inevitable. The human scenes resemble something between The Thing and Solyaris, reflective and resigned yet desperate and mournful. Hardly, to my mind, a masterpiece, but check it out if it intrigues you.