Director – Tony Randel, Screenplay – Brent V. Friedman, Based on an Idea by/Visual Effects/Special Effects Supervisor – Doug Beswick, Producer – Jack F. Murphy, Photography – Steve Grass, Music – Christopher L. Stone, Mechanical/Pyrotechnic Effects – Larry Fioritto & Ken Tarallo, Makeup Effects – KNB EFX Group (Supervisors – Howard Berger, Robert Kurtzman & Greg Nicotero), Production Design – Anthony Tremblay. Production Company – First Look Pictures/Ticks United Ltd.
Seth Green (Tyler Burns), Alfonso Ribeiro (Darrel ‘Panic’ Lumley), Rosalind Allen (Holly Lambert), Barry Lynch (Sir), Peter Scolari (Charles Danson), Virginya Keehne (Melissa Danson), Michael Medeiros (Jerry), Ray Oriel (Rome Hernandez), Ami Dolenz (Dee Dee Davenport), Dina Dayrit (Kelly Mishimoto), Clint Howard (Jarvis Tanner), Judy Dean Berns (Dr Kates)
A group of troubled teens are taken on The Wilderness Project, a weekend-long wilderness survival course. There they face a horde of ticks mutated to giant size by a marijuana grower’s steroid-enhanced crop.
Director Tony Randel made a reasonable debut with Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988), which was a good deal better than most people gave him credit for at the time. Since then, Randel has unfortunately languished in the low-budget horror arena with films such as Children of the Night (1991), Amityville 1992: It’s About Time (1992), Fist of the North Star (1995), Rattled (1996), One Good Turn (1996), The Double Born (2008) and The Hybrids Family (2015), having failed to produce anything of note.
Ticks is a routine variant on the mini revival of Nature’s Revenge films that popped up following the success of Arachnophobia (1990). It is a silly film – the ticks are gooey and cartoonish, not at all designed for believability. If Tony Randel had played the critters seriously like say Squirm (1976) or Kingdom of the Spiders (1977), he could maybe have made something out of the film.
Furthermore, the plot seems misshapen, as though it is missing a middle act. It introduces a large cast of teens that in any other film would clearly be pegged as intended victims but does nothing with them – the ticks only kill off a single teen throughout and more people are killed by drug dealers than they are by ticks. Barely do we get past the scenes of the cast discovering what the menace is than the film suddenly jumps to the big climax. It is as though a big chunk of the film is missing – most other films of this type would spent the majority of the running time with the cast numbers being slowly eroded by the ticks. There are flashbacks to Seth Green’s childhood traumas, which normally signal that the character must confront them to win out, but here they have nothing to do with the rest of the film.