Sick Review (TIFF)


PLOT: During the pandemic lockdown, two friends find safety staying in a family lake house. They soon realize that a masked killer has made themselves welcome for a deadly night of stalk and slash.

REVIEW: Kevin Williamson has been a respected name in horror for years. The impact that his collaboration with the legendary Wes Craven in the Scream franchise is notable. And now, Mr. Williamson has a new story to tell. In his latest, he has a “story by” credit as well as the role of producer; the man has a new scary story to tell. Only this time, his scary story is particularly relevant. While we’ve certainly seen COVID-19 referenced in films and television as of late, Sick takes place during the recent lockdown. The film stars Jane Adams, Marc Menchaca, Gideon Adlon, Bethlehem Million, and Dylan Sprayberry, and it delves right into the craziness we’ve all experienced. Except perhaps with a little more slashing.

Miri (Million) and Parker (Adlon) are best friends. So much so that they decided to take shelter during the initial pandemic lockdown. While Miri appears to be the logical one, Parker is a little reckless with her actions. The young woman even gets some attention from social media after attending a party and making out with a few strangers, with all of instagram to see. Yet the two aren’t alone. Not only did a particularly troublesome boyfriend named DJ (Sprayberry) show up, but a deadly stranger took an interest in the current residents. Things get tense and gruesome as the killer taunts our heroes. The question is, will they survive the night? It’s worth the trip to find out.

Sick is a clever and satisfying horror flick. I enjoyed the hell out of this gripping slasher. And while Williamson didn’t take credit for the script – that honor goes to Katelyn Crabb – this feature certainly carries his genre DNA. From the shockingly relatable early scenes that create the environment to the chaotic relationship between Miri and Parker, there is much to enjoy here. And like any good mystery slasher, I will avoid getting into details around the rest of the talent involved. If anything, my main fear during the film’s fast pace. I was nervous as to how satisfying the final act would be. Thankfully, it left me satisfied and impressed.

Directed by John Hyams, it appears that Williamson found a solid name to bring this one to life. It starts with the early sequences that are sad reminders of two years ago; the tension builds quickly. While you won’t find a considerable body count, there is enough to satiate a slasher fan’s desires. And considering much of the movie relies on suspense, it’s impressive how Hyams manages to keep things interesting. One particular kill may be one of the most clever and creepy I’ve seen in a slasher film for a while. The way the moment reveals itself is brilliant. While a quick burst of CG slightly dampens the fun on it, it’s still fantastic.

Another one of the film’s charms is the impressive cast. The film works wonders because of the engaging performances from the stars. Gideon Adlon’s Parker isn’t necessarily a good person here. Even still, the actress manages to bring a balance to her work. Bethlehem Million is also terrific. The two play off each other, and it’s easy to believe in their friendship. Dylan Sprayberry fits into the situation and brings energy to DJ. Perhaps it’s the inclusion of a slightly topical plot, but I found myself caring more for them as they try and face off against the mysterious psychopath.

The satisfying slasher film is ripe with tension, and it presents a fascinating final sequence. John Hyams has given us a feature that puts the foot on the gas and rarely eases up. If you’re a fan of Williamson’s work, you’ll feel his imprint within this sleek horror mystery. And about that ending, I’m more than curious how others will react. For me, it was about as good as it could be to complete a story like this. The cast shines, and it’s terrific to see a character like Parker. She is allowed not to be so kind early on, yet as the movie continues, she quickly grows on you. And don’t worry about the divisive nature that you may expect from a film about COVID-19. Instead of preaching, this fright flick cares about the scares and suspense.

If you happen to be in the Los Angeles area, you may want to get an early look at this fine slasher fun at Beyond Fest. Sick is sick. In the most fun way possible.

8

Originally published at www.joblo.com

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