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Ticks #MovieReview

A gaggle of irritating teenagers are taken by social workers on a wilderness retreat. Unbeknownst to them, the woods where they are camping are overrun by giant, mutant, blood-sucking ticks. A very silly fight for survival ensues. 

Movie cover for Ticks (1993)

Tagline: They breed. They hatch. They kill.
Starring:  Rosalind Allen, Ami Dolenz, Seth Green, Alfonso Ribeiro
Released: 1993
Runtime:  1 hr 25 
Rating: 3 out of 5 Space Krakens

Warning: this review contains spoilers

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Here’s a question: what’s better than watching Carlton from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air turn into a giant mutant tick?

Nothing, that’s what. Nothing. 

From the second the giant neon green word TICKS (1993) blazes onto the screen, it’s obvious what we’re in for with this classic from the nineties. Teenagers! Creatures! Hicks! In fact, if I could invent a new slogan for this movie, it would be Ticks n’ Hicks. Ticks n’ Hicks, folks, I’m here all week! Try the salad! Actually, don’t, they use bagged rocket and honestly, who knows how long that’s been at the back of the fridge for. But the bread is fresh! Well, actually, it’s…yeah, know what? Never mind. 

The premise here is simple, as with most creature features from the eighties and nineties: some naughty cannabis-growers using an illegal, bright green growth-accelerant on their plants let some of it loose into the water system. Chaos ensues as a tick is exposed to the accelerant, and soon one tiny bitey irritant becomes a blood-thirsty, ravenous hoard of mutant insects intent on chowing down on anything it finds. Luckily for them, there is a gaggle of idiot teenagers on hand to sate their appetite, and before long, blood is flowing, nubile young girls are screaming, and all sorts of shenanigans unfold. 

This film is mainly notable for the cast: Seth Green, as sulky teen Tyler, is so baby-faced it hurts. He’s joined by Alfonso Ribeiro, who plays a flick-knife wielding troublemaker called ‘Panic’. Panic is has about as much attitude as a soft-boiled egg, but it is enormous fun to watch him try to act tough street-kid. Did I mention his name is PANIC? Aside from these two, there are the other usual suspects, including the latino gangster, the high-maintenance teen, the moody silent teen, the wholesome, perky teen, the wannabe rapstar teen. You get the picture. They are all dreadful people, but they have to be, otherwise it’s not a real horror movie. And to be fair, teenagers are quite annoying. We’ll gloss over the fact that most of the cast looks to be in their mid-twenties, apart from Seth Green, who still looks seventeen today- whatever he’s drinking, I want some. 

Tyler has deep rooted issues left over from his childhood, where he was abandoned by his dad in the woods, which (understandably) left him traumatised. This is apparently fixable by his dad abandoning him for a second time in the woods to join a youth project led by two very dubiously qualified social workers, Holly and Charles. Holly and Charles think that the young people can all be saved by ‘communing with the wilderness’, and there we have our ropey premise for them to all be alone together in the woods in what is basically a convenient snacking arrangement for the ticks. 

Off they go, to the land of cliches and rednecks a plenty. And whips, apparently. And bear traps. And eventually, ticks. Ticks and Hicks. And chicks. Damn, I’m good.  

Dare I say this movie would be awesome to watch whilst stoned? Especially when the titular ticks start to propagate. Because, although not anything to write home about, Ticks is a very silly, very predictable, and very enjoyable film, all things being said. There’s a lot of slime. There’s some top-notch overacting. People say ‘marry-wanna’ a lot, and look genuinely thrilled when they do so, weed still being a bit taboo at the time, I guess. There are even a few quality one-liners like ‘when in doubt, squish’. The body count racks up, the plot throws itself into the bin, and stilted dialogue, casual racism, exploding ticks and an immensely satisfying climax bring the whole thing home- for which I refer you to my opening statement. Carlton. Giant Mutant Tick. You have been warned. 

Ticks and hicks, folks. Ticks, chicks and hicks. A few dicks, too. 

And lyme disease, probably. 

Shut up, Gemma.

Published inMovie Reviews
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