29 July 2014

Them! (1954)
92 min.
Directed by Gordon Douglas.
With James Whitmore, Edmund Gwenn, Joan Weldon, James Arness, Chris Drake, Onslow Stevens, Sean McClory, Sandy Descher.
Them! ranks as one of the best atomic age horrors from the 1950s.

In the New Mexico desert, local police are puzzled when they find a little girl walking aimlessly through the dunes.

Her family is missing, and the poor child - mute and in shock - can't help the police in their investigation. But no matter.

The whole world will soon know the full terror of...them. You see, it seems that radiation from an A-bomb test in 1945 has caused ants to grow to gigantic proportions.

Like fortified army tanks, these mammoth ants prove virtually unstoppable. And now they're on the verge of creating new colonies, which will populate their ranks by thousands!

Considering the bellicose nature of ants, and armed with their superior organizational skills, can man even hope to survive?

This sci fi horror classic boasts an intelligent script and a letter perfect, no nonsense style of execution.

There's a fresh sense of gravitas from the cast, especially Gwenn who gives a truly superior performance as the bug scientist who hopes he can stop the madness.

In a switch from his role as the bloodsucking alien in Howard Hawks' The Thing (1951), Arness plays the good guy here.

The cast, script and action sequences all forge a momentum that makes this one of the better matinee monster flicks of the '50s. For Them, the whole is definitely greater than the sum of its parts.

Best scene: the well done climax in the L.A. sewage tunnels.

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