Tuesday, January 7, 2014

In short: Ticks (1993)

aka Infested

To say that Tony Randel's Ticks is probably the best film about a group of Troubled Teens™ (among them a Seth Green actually moving his facial muscles) bonding via the ways of survival while fighting pretty large, hallucinogenic ticks mutated by steroids used by marihuana farmers is selling the film short a bit, though it certainly is that. For beyond the gloriously silly basic idea, Randel's film also does a lot of things rather well in practice.

There is the fact that Randel manages to start his characters off as absolute clichés but for the most part then goes on to provide them with enough personality to put them a little above your usual horror movie victims, and takes care to never let any one of them become so annoying for you to actually want them to die; which is always good to heighten the stakes in a movie. Then there's how low the film's body count actually is, without the film ever feeling too harmless (and don't you worry, the black character dies and births a monster tick, because the film isn't that clever). It is, Ticks demonstrates again, not necessarily the number of victims that makes the fun in this sort of monster movie but rather the way the monstrous threat is presented.

Said monstrous threat is obviously one of the strong points of the film, seeing as it comes in form of slimy, skittering practical effects inspired by Alien's face-hugger and the true horrors of mother nature, which in their turn produce all kind of icky things, bodily fluids and some wonderfully gruesome and silly body part explosions. Tonally, it's all in good fun, demonstrating a sardonic sense of humour and a love of the grotesque that adds giggles (how appropriate to the film's back story) to the mild shudders and the highly entertaining carnage.

Plus, if you ever wanted to see Seth Green fight off a bunch of rude, over-large ticks with a burning broom, this is your film.

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