I know what you're thinking. "Adam, why?" Well, I'll tell you. A few years back, when I was on a serious horror movie rental binge, my wife got really excited and said, "Have you ever seen Ticks?" After telling her I had not, she went on a quest to find it, but no luck. Then a while back, a friend gave us a copy on DVD, and its sat in my collection ever since, gathering dust. While I was looking for tonight's movie, I came across this one, and asked Jess if we should finally watch it... and so we did. So lets sink our teeth into Ticks.
The movie opens in a shack where we see some cobbled together equipment running on - I shit you not - hamster power. A foul chemical leaks onto a nest of tick eggs beneath the shack. The movie then moves to LA, where a teen named Tyler is dropped off by his father in a seedy part of town and challenged to a game of basketball by a boy named "Panic." Soon after, a van arrives to take the boys, along with more troubled teens, into the country to commune with nature. As they get settled, the teens learn that there are marijuana growers in the area, and they are advised to steer clear. Meanwhile, giant mutant ticks hatch and attack the caretaker of the equipment in the shack before spreading into the surrounding woods. The adults don't believe Tyler after he and one of the girls encounter one of the ticks, that is until Panic's dog is attacked and killed. The local veterinarian examines the dog, and one of the mutant ticks hatches from its abdomen. After performing a necropsy on the insect, the vet concludes that the ticks have been altered genetically by the herbal steroids used by the marijuana farmers. The campers soon get more than they bargained for when both the farmers and the ticks attack!
Oh, man. Where do I begin? As soon as I saw the hamster-powered drug operation, I knew I'd made a horrible mistake. The acting isn't horrible, but it's hard to take Carlton from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air forcing Seth Green to play basketball at knifepoint seriously. And, of course, you can't have a "troubled" kids movie without a diverse cast of perfectly harmless juvenile delinquents. The kids just wanna lay around and sunbathe all day? Le horror! Le horror! Let's also not forget that you can't have a movie that takes place in the wilderness without inbred hillbillies! You know, one of southern California's main exports!
If there's anything I can say with certainty, it's that the makers of this film have never stepped foot outside the city limits. In the film, the ticks reproduce my laying eggs inside the host, which makes for a disgusting visual onscreen and adds to the horror, but it had this country boy's eyes rolling. Just when I thought the movie couldn't get any dumber, a massive tick erupts from Panic's body and attacks the campers before exploding in a massive fireball during the movie's climax. That's one thing the movie did get right; the creepy crawlies do in fact explode if exposed to a flame, although not quite as dramatically as depicted in the movie. It's rather satisfying revenge after you've pulled one of the little suckers off, lemme tell ya.
The two-legged villains in the movie are dumber than a box of rocks. After murdering the sheriff and making a half-assed attempt at hiding his car, they attack Panic and try to steal the campers' van in order to escape the killer ticks. Over half of their dialogue is taken up by Barry Lynch's character insisting that he be called "Sir." I've gotta say, though, that Jerry's a rather resilient fellow. After all, not many men can run full speed after taking a stiletto to the kneecap. Must be those herbal steroids they've been smoking.
My verdict? Skip it. If you're in the mood for something with creepy crawlies, there are much better options out there. I had hopes when I saw Seth Green in the cast list, but unfortunately the script didn't really give him much of a chance to shine. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go take a long, hot shower.