‘Sick’ Review – A White-Knuckle Slasher That Goes Hard! [TIFF 22]

Sickthe new slasher/home invasion movie written by Kevin Williamson and Katelyn Crabb, opens with a mini scroll. Alongside the memory of the early onset of COVID, the order to self-isolate and the early death toll, there is an important founding date: April 3, 2020.

The date is of paramount importance to provide context for Sick. The film is set over a single night in the early days of the pandemic: a time when fear, suspicion, and, yes, anger, dominated much of our interactions with anyone who came within our two-meter radius.

There is a lot of humor regarding COVID and the protocols that come with it, such as: B. Toilet paper shortages and refusing to assist someone in a life or death situation because they are not wearing a mask. We also see characters scrubbing food with antibacterial wipes, an antiquated practice most people abandoned early on during lockdown. Some of these moments are reminiscent of how society responded to the novel virus when COVID was new. Hell, the main characters even play a drinking game when Dr. Fauci’s name is mentioned on Anderson Cooper.

The characters in question are Parker (Gideon Adlon) and her college roommate Miri (Bethlehem million), who are self-isolating in Parker’s empty family cottage following the closure of their school. It’s just the two of them, and Miri, the more cautious of the two, insists Parker, who is more casual (almost flippantly), follows all health and safety protocols around masking and social distancing.

Of course, the calm was quickly broken when Parker’s hook-up DJ (Dylan Sprayberry) comes unannounced. He is upset after seeing a social media post of her kissing Benji (Logan Murphy), so he spends the night trying to convince Parker to acknowledge their mutual feelings.

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As with most slasher films, the first act consists of a lot of character development and world building. The dynamics of the three characters are the focus, as is the geography of the huge, multi-storey cottage on the deserted lake. In true Williamson fashion, the jokes, jump scares and fake outs come early and fast; the script has a Rhythm that’s easy to invest in, especially as the three characters settle in for the night and Nima Fakhrara‘s ominous sonar-like score sets in.

The anticipation of what inevitably comes is absolutely delightful, but the payoff is even better. In the Q&A after the TIFF screening, Williamson mentioned his love of horror and chase scenes John Hyamshis movie Alone is a master class in exciting set pieces, is the perfect director to bring this vision to life. Fans of the Williamson’s car chases scream 2 and I know what you did last summer get their money’s worth. As soon as the masked attacker appears, the chase begins and it doesn’t let up for the rest of the film. It’s a mind-blowing adrenaline rush as the action takes in the whole house, the woods outside, the floating raft on the lake and everything in between.

One of the film’s greatest assets is that everything is a potential weapon, including the usual assortment of knives and axes, as well as Checkov’s antlers, accelerant and electric meat slicer. Everyone gets a moment to shine in the never-ending assault and violence – frequently filmed in unflinchingly long takes – is mean and vicious. As a result, Sick features myriad trauma that will induce flinches and jubilant punches that will leave audiences breathless.

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Arguably the least successful element of the film is the big final reveal. There is a murderous motivation for all this wanton death and destruction, but the politically minded explanation will no doubt prove divisive. Audience reach will definitely vary.

Luckily, the rest of the film is strong enough that this is an easy recommendation. Sick Feels like a welcome party for Williamson: fans of Scream will find many callbacks to his most famous work, notably the opening scene in which college student Tyler is harassed with threatening texts before being attacked at his home. It’s clearly Crabb and Williamson’s hat tip to Casey Becker’s ordeal, as if to say, “Williamson’s back, baby!”

Rest assured, adrenaline junkies: Sick goes difficult.

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