Monday Movie: Them!

Things take an eerie turn when a police officer and an FBI agent team up to investigate strange killings in the Californian desert. Their request for help is answered by a bumbling agricultural scientist and his (obliged by the genre to scream once, but otherwise level-headed) daughter. It seems that the atomic tests of the forties may have spawned a new species of giant ant that could very well become the dominant form of life on Earth...

To me, seminal monster movie Them! is at its best when it's being otherworldly and creepy - strange chirpings heard in the middle of a sandstorm, or the claustrophobic tunnels of a subterranean nest. But that doesn't prevent it also pulling off some stonking great action sequences that rise above the primitive creature effects - or some relatively smart, talky science fiction. This is a film that's entirely confident in its ridiculous premise, boldly extrapolating the facts of ant society while never apologising for its flights of fancy.

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