IT CAME FROM THE DESERT (2017) Reviews and overview

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‘Get ready to scream!’

It Came from the Desert is a 2017 Finnish-British science fiction horror feature film directed by Marko Mäkilaakso from a screenplay co-written with Hank Woon Jr. and actor Trent Haaga (star of the Killjoy movies). The Roger! Pictures production stars Mark Arnold, Vanessa Grasse and Harry Lister Smith.

The movie is based on the 1989 Cinemaware game for Commodore Amiga home computers that was itself inspired by Them!, the 1954 monster movie about giant ants.


It Came from the Desert is unleashed on DVD in the UK by Thunderbird Releasing on 25 June 2018.


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Clever integration of CGI, practical effects and excellent stunt-work give everything a very realistic feel. The ants themselves are creepy, racing through cramped laboratories and across dusty hardscrabble, even as they drink beer (!) and spit formic acid. Independent films are often hit or miss affairs, but when they hit, they hit hard. It Came from the Desert is a home run.” The Slaughtered Bird


“The references to Them! are cool, but this also has a sneaking affection for Empire of the Ants … but the problem is that this is only a pastiche, without even a hint of real suspense, danger or desert eeriness.  I thoroughly enjoyed it, but I’ve a sense that I’ll revisit any given 1950s big bug flick – even the ones by Bert I. Gordon – more often than I’ll return to It Came From the Desert.” The Kim Newman Web Site

“Camp, cheesy and oddly charming, It Came From the Desert is a rare modern b-movie that is an absolute viewing pleasure. It’s such an entertaining watch that it should be watched with as big an audience as possible for maximum fun.” The Hollywood News


It Came From the Desert is quite often little more than cheesy as sin, and entirely disposable. But Mäkilaakso and his co-writers (one of whom being 68 Kill’s pulp-king director Trent Haaga) don’t really take anything seriously, and squeeze in just enough self-awareness to be on-top of the silliness, without ever seeming sarky, which is a satisfying mix.” HeyUGuys


“One of the first things we see is Doug McClure’s name on a movie poster (for At the Earth’s Core) and there are plenty of references to films we all know and love without the practice ever becoming nudging and annoying. The actors are likeable even though some of them are likely ‘starting out’ (to be charitable) and the special effects are of SyFy channel CGI quality, which means they’re passable but in this case the film is fun enough that it doesn’t matter.” House of Mortal Cinema

Main cast:

  • Mark Arnold
  • Vanessa Grasse – Astral; Leatherface; Roboshark
  • Harry Lister Smith
  • Alex Mills
  • James Alper
  • Callum McGowan
  • Claudia Trujillo
  • Andrew Horton
  • Ross Ellis
  • Michael Majalahti

Filming locations:

Almeria, Spain
Turku, Finland


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