This science-fiction shocker has a well-plotted story [by George Worthington Yates, adapted by Russell Hughes], expertly directed and acted in a matter-of-fact style.
The title monsters are mutations caused by radiation from the 1945 detonation of an atomic bomb in the desert. Over the intervening years the tiny insects affected by the lingering radiation have become fantastic creatures, ranging in size from nine to 12 feet. James Whitmore, sergeant in the New Mexico State Police, first gets on the track of the incredible beings. Into the picture then come Edmund Gwenn and Joan Weldon, entomologists, and James Arness, FBI man.
With the aid of air force officers Onslow Stevens and Sean McClory, the little group attempts to wipe out the nest of the mutated monsters with flame throwers and gas. Two of the newlyborn queen ants escape, however. It’s a real chiller-diller finale.
Whitmore, Gwenn, Weldon and Arness wrap up the acting chores in first-rate fashion. Fess Parker and Olin Howlin show up very well, the first as a pilot booby-hatched for his ‘flying saucer’ story, and the other as a happy drunk. Sid Hickox’s photography gets plenty of menace into the fantastic monsters.
1954: Nomination: Best Special Effects