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With: Rosalind Allen, Ami Dolenz, Seth Green, Virginya Keehne, Ray Oriel, Alfonso Ribeiro, Peter Scolari, Dina Dayrit, Michael Medeiros, Barry Lynch, Clint Howard, Rance Howard, Timothy Landfield, Judy Jean Berns, J.D. Stone
Written by: Brent V. Friedman
Directed by: Tony Randel
MPAA Rating: R for sci-fi gore and violence, and for language
Running Time: 85
Date: 06/17/1993
IMDB

Ticks (1993)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Buggin' Out

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Coming from Tony Randel, the director of Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988), Ticks is an above-average giant creature movie, applying generous amounts of gore, humor, and excess for a most satisfying blend. Clint Howard is our cult headliner, playing a backwoods pot grower whose super steroids (or whatever) cause an army of giant ticks to mutate. Clint is the first one that gets it, and in a famous scene, his face bulges out and he screams, "I'm infested!" (This led to the movie being re-titled as Infested for certain markets.)

But of course, there's a group of teens camping in the woods. Happily, Ticks explains why there are several different "types" of teens, none of whom would ever be caught dead actually hanging around together. These are troubled youths, and this trip into the woods is supposed to build character or something. (It would help if the two counselors in charge, played by Peter Scolari and Rosalind Allen, weren't always trying to sneak away for sex.)

One of these youths is Tyler Burns, played by Seth Green, who had been a child actor (notably in Woody Allen's Radio Days) and would go on to fame as "Oz" on TV's "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." Tyler butts heads with a tough street kid who calls himself "Panic" (Alfonso Ribeiro). Virginya Keehne and Ami Dolenz provide some girl eye candy, Dina Dayrit is the shy one, and Ray Oriel is like a motorcycle thug out of an Elvis movie.

The ticks grow to the size of footballs and multiply like crazy. They're icky and creepy and quick -- you probably won't hear a description of this movie that doesn't include the word "scuttle" -- and contain copious amounts of slime and goop. The movie creates that uncomfortable feeling based on the idea that they could be just about anywhere, and that even locking the doors of the cabin doesn't quite feel safe.

The movie takes some dumb shortcuts here and there, such as Tyler more or less teleporting behind the wheel of a van and starting the engine in the space of about 1 second, but it's silly enough overall that these things are forgiven.

Olive Films has resurrected this almost-forgotten Paramount film on DVD and Blu-ray, and as a bonus they have included a fun commentary track with director Randel and cult star Clint Howard.

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