Wednesday, April 20, 2022

It Came From the Desert (2017)

Streaming Service: Hulu
Movie Name/Year: It Came From the Desert (2017)
Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Horror
Length: 90 minutes
Rating: Unrated
Production/Distribution: AMP International, Cinemaware, Oy Bufo Ab, Roger! Pictures, Crystalsky Multimedia, Black Lion Pictures, Elisa Viihde, Fox, GAGA., Horrify, Horror Channel, Hulu, ITN Distribution, Impact Films, Minerva Pictures, Raven Banner Entertainment, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Sunfilm Entertainment, The Orchard, Thunderbird Releasing, Tiberius Film, Zylo
Director: Marko Mäkilaakso
Writers: Trent Haaga, Marko Mäkilaakso, Hank Woon Jr.
Actors: Harry Lister Smith, Alex Mills, Vanessa Grasse, Mark Arnold, Callum McGowan, Andrew Horton, James Alper, Michael Majalahti, José Varela, Jose Leonardo Garcia Torres, Ross Ellis, Gregory Rowbottom, Larry Wayne, L.J. Ruth, Christy Fabbri, Rob Drex, Perry Norton, Rick Shockley, Genevieve Baer
IMDb Blurb: A pulpy monster movie inspired by the cult classic 1980s video game "It Came from the Desert," featuring rival motocross heroes and heroines, kegger parties in the desert, secret underground military bases...and of course giant ants!

Cat’s Point of View:
I must admit that when I watched It Came From the Desert, I had no idea that this film was an adaptation of an 80’s video game. (The story takes place 60+ years after the events in the game.) In retrospect, it makes so much more sense now. I just figured someone had a crazy idea along the same vein as Big Ass Spider! (2013), Lavalantula (2015), or Eight Legged Freaks (2002).
That’s really the main thing to keep in mind while watching It Came From the Desert. This isn’t a serious piece of cinema here. This is campy and playing to the pulp fiction genre. No one was fishing with Oscar bait here – even though the acting on the part of the leads was generally fine.

There were little nods here and there that gave the audience a clear picture that the key players were aware of how ridiculous the situation was.
I mean, have you ever wondered what it would look like if an ant snickered? Well, worry not – It Came From the Desert has a compelling visual for you. (The production value on the effects was pretty good, as well.)
The sci-fi elements here weren’t so far-flung as to defy suspension of disbelief, at least. The setting even felt like an ideal place for a monstrous anthill. It was certainly remote enough that a ‘secret facility' would be plausible.

While computer technology and cell phones prevent this actually from being set in the 1980s, It Came From The Desert certainly pays a good deal of homage to the 80s action tropes. It plays out like a love letter to campy serialized B-movies from that era – but doesn’t leave out the occasional homage to more serious works such as Aliens (1986) and Jurassic Park (1993).
Of course, then there’s the random motocross element. Hey, it works here though.
There was really only one thing that bothered me about this production. I didn’t like the song they generally use as the main theme throughout the movie and end credits. Melodically, and as a piece of music, it was fine. The lyrics just rubbed me the wrong way with their repeated reference to River Phoenix (1970-1993). That’s just my own personal bias talking, though. If you tune out the words and just vibe with the scenes, it was easy enough to get past.
As long as you don’t set expectations too high, and approach It Came From the Desert with the simple desire to be entertained, it’s a fun ride that would be great to share with friends and plenty of popcorn.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 60%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 31%
Metascore – None
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 4.2/10
P.S. - 8-bit animations of plot elements are at beginning of the credits, there is a small additional scene mid-credits, and then as the rest of the credits roll, actual game-play from the 80s video game is shown in a window on-screen.

Trust the Dice: Parental Guidance Rating – PG-13
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 3.5/5
Movie Trailer:

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