Infested, also known as Ticks, starts in a illegal marijuana growers hideout where a barrel of steroids, that is used to enhance the growth of their crop, begins to leak onto a tick pod which starts to pulsate... Jump to Los Angeles where Holly Lambert (Rosalind Allen) runs the 'Wilderness Project' which helps troubled teens by taking them on a trip to the great outdoors. Along with her partner Charles Danson (Peter Scolari) & his teenage daughter Melissa (Virginya Keehne) they pick up a traumatised boy named Tyler Burns (Seth Green), an idiot with an attitude Darrel Lumley (Alfonso Ribeiro), a couple of lovers Dee Dee Davenport (Ami Dolenz) & Rome Hernandez (Ray Oriel) plus a young rape victim Kelly Mishimoto (Dina Dayrit) & set off for the isolation of the woods. Meanwhile the tick pods have hatched & mutant ticks are running around all over the place laying more & more pods everywhere. Once the dysfunctional van load of teens arrive it's not long before they are menaced by the flesh eating, blood drinking ticks that infest the woods & their cabin...
Directed by Tony Randel I must confess that I was somewhat disappointed by Infested, I thought it was OK nothing more. The script by Brent V. Friedman just wasn't what I was hoping for or expecting after hearing reasonably good things about it. Nothing really holds the film together, the clichéd teenage character's become very irritating after a while, the ticks barely interact with humans until the last twenty odd minutes & the first hour of Infested feels like a pre credits sequence stretched out. The contamination of the ticks which make them grow & then after they just sort of 'hover' in the background for what seems like ages, they never really do anything or cause anything significant to take place. Finally they just spring from nowhere & attack everyone during the climax, it feels odd & I got bored waiting for Infested to come to life. I mean you have this potentially great story, cool slimy giant blood drinking ticks, annoying character's who the audience want to die in the goriest way possible & the obligatory isolated location but Infested fails to take advantage of any of these things. Instead it would rather have lots of dialogue, no deaths, an unnecessary sub plot about drug growers & not much else. There is also a flashback scene of which nothing ever becomes of. Having said all that Infested is OK I suppose, it moves along at a fair pace & is watchable, if ultimately disappointing.
Director Randel doesn't do anything to liven the film up, it's competently made but it has no real style or flair to it. The ticks themselves are OK, they are just puppets covered in slime, although I have no idea where the giant monster one comes from at the end. The gore is very sparse, there are plenty of slimy tick pods & the little critters running around but they only kill one teenager throughout the entire film, just one. They also kill three drug growers as well but when three of the four deaths happen within the last fifteen minutes you can probably understand why Infested becomes frustrating to watch. I mean I'm not watching a film about mutant killer ticks for the high drama, the emotionally driven wonderfully realised dialogue or the superb Oscar worthy acting am I? No I ain't, I want to see the mutant killer ticks do what mutant killer ticks do best, kill annoying teenagers.
Technically Infested is alright even though it was made-for-video which is never a good sign, it's generally well made but nothing stands out as being particularly brilliant. Some of the special effects are fairly impressive while others are far from impressive. The gore is tame, someone's face & body splits open & a huge tick crawls out plus someone's leg is caught in a bear trap & there are a few splashes of blood here & there but that's it. I want my money & 85 minutes of my life back. The acting doesn't impress particularly.
Infested is a clichéd, predictable, disappointing & frustrating film throughout. It could have been so much more. Average at best & only worth a watch if there's absolutely nothing else on or if you can get hold of a copy cheap, very cheap that is.
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