Check Out This Sick (FANTASTIC) New Slasher Film
First Non-Festival Release: TBD
Director: John Hyams
Writer: Katelyn Crabb, Kevin Williamson
Runtime: 83 Minutes
Starring: Gideon Adlon, Bethlehem Million, Dylan Sprayberry
Where to Watch: Check out where to find it here
This film’s review was written after its screening at the Fantastic Film Festival in 2022.
It’s April of 2020 and the world is gripped in fear over the developing COVID-19 pandemic. Friends Parker (Gideon Adlon) and Miri (Beth Million) steal away to Parker’s remote family cabin deep in the woods. There they unwind and enjoy their quarantine after being released from school. An unexpected visitor in DJ (Dylan Sprayberry) changes their plans, as his attempts to woo Parker into a relationship go unreciprocated. Their quiet yet odd evening is interrupted when they are viciously attacked by a masked intruder. With all lines of communication destroyed, they must rely on each other to stay alive and evade the torment of the faceless killer.
Sleek and timely, Sick is a badass slasher that defies traditional structure, convention, and political correctness.
Many will have strong reactions to the content depicted in Sick. Its setting within the initial onset of the COVID-19 pandemic is not just a gimmick. Dripping in angst, Sick sets out to depict the extreme emotions felt during an uncertain time. The use of violence is meant to be cathartic, a release for anyone who has felt strong emotions regarding lockdown procedures. Once the reveals happen, however, it will upset a good chunk of the audience. It’s because of its divisiveness that this movie rules. It is so welcome to see a COVID-19 film that isn’t entirely toothless or derivative. Sick gets the job done and does so in a fresh way that doesn’t let anyone come out unscathed.
Both Parker and Miri have irritating aspects to their characters that make them endearing. They feel like real people with real lives and opinions about the world. Neither are perfect, but when the time comes to retaliate against their attackers, they team up in ways that show how much they truly do care about each other.
The villain’s motivation is cheesy and more topical driven than anything, but it still serves as something different compared to other recent slasher entries. It also fits in nicely with some other aspects of the plot which makes it rather easy to follow without getting lost in a convoluted mystery. Once their identity is revealed, the antagonists get a bit too unhinged to be realistic, but it does serve the film’s ultimate goal of camp.
Set in a beautiful, remote location, Sick is a visual rollercoaster for cinephiles. Taking a more shaky cam approach to the copious chase scenes, viewers get a chance to feel like they are in the film without needing some found footage angle. It does this without going too ballistic with the camerawork and leaving enough visual cues for foreshadowing purposes. Pulling off one chase scene well is difficult enough, director John Hyams does this ten times over throughout the course of Sick. Dynamic and engaging, the velocity of filmmaking in Sick makes for a tense and exciting slasher experience that is certain to get the blood pumping. A relentless, campy, and fun ride, Sick is the perfect film to sit back and enjoy when in a mood to relive the gloriousness of late 90s slashers.
It’s easy to tell that Sick is something special from the cold open, and it only gets better as this atypical slasher gets into the thick of it. Sick unfurls in the most delicious of ways: all at once without reason or remorse. It takes no time to follow in the footsteps of classic slashers before, and, instead, blazes its own trail while still championing character development and plot progression. It gets silly at times but truthfully that adds to the appeal, especially as a film that takes place in one of the most uncomfortable and challenging times for many people. Sick is sure to re-ignite a passion for slashers in all but those with the most extreme of COVID-19 opinions.
Overall Score? 8.5/10