The Bone Snatcher (2003)

A modestly-effective little monster picture, which admirably makes use of African locales playing themselves rather than (as in many other quickies) trying to pass the Namib off as Arizona. A motley bunch on a routine trip to a diamond-mining outpost come across the eaten-to-the-bone corpses of three prospectors who have unearthed something from an anthill. The monster (Brian Claxton Payne) is imaginatively conceived and depicted – a horde of flesh-eating ants which use borrowed bones to form a skeleton so they can move about as one creature on the directions of their glowing brain queen ('the Sandmother') but also can break apart and do the traditional swarm-and-devour bug business. The spiky group of monster-fighters – an American computer scientist who specialises in designing extreme survival techniques (Scott Bairstow), a couple of overstretched security guards (Rachel Shelley, Warrick Grier), a tough female driver (Adrienne Pearce) – are credible characters who work against each other as often as they co-operate and have to manage their survival with the few resources at hand. It has some of the feel of Dust Devil or Razorback in its use of a desert locale, and a conventional outcome doesn't detract from the overall superior quality. Directed by Jason Wulfsohn.

First published in this form here.

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