In “Sick,” audiences are transported to the year 2020, just after the initial outbreak of COVID-19 has rocked the world and everyone is trying to make sense of what is happening. That fact alone is grist for a horror film, and while other movies have tried to capture the terror of living through a pandemic while we are still in the midst of one, “Sick” takes a slightly different tack.
The film is Kevin Williamson’s attempt to reawaken his passion for slasher movies, and it’s a mildly compelling chiller that combines elements from his previous movies with modern-day fears.
The film’s opening scene takes us back to the beginning of the pandemic, evoking feelings of fear and discomfort. We see people rushing to the store to stock up on necessities, and it’s evident that Williamson and his team are trying for a more traditional horror vibe. The opening ten minutes of Sick are intense, drawn-out, and terrifying. The film’s ominous opening scene sets the mood for what’s to come. The movie promises to be a ruthless, efficient, and utterly terrifying experience.
In April of 2020, as a result of the epidemic, Parker (Gideon Adlon) and her friend Miri (Bethlehem Million) are struggling to adjust to their new circumstances. They feel like their time of self-discovery has been cut short now that they’ve reached college. Nonetheless, the two of them made the decision to quarantine at Parker’s family’s lake property. Their nearest neighbors are miles away, thus isolating them.
The first hour and a half of this movie, which is 84 minutes long, focuses almost entirely on young individuals being viciously pursued by an unknown assailant who is armed with a knife.
The serial killer makes the first contact with those who could become victims by sending them text messages. It is very evident that this is a reference to Scream, however the aesthetic of the horrific phone calls has been modernized. Sick comes up with a cunning plan to deprive Parker and Miri of the benefits of contemporary comforts and force them to fend for themselves in the same way that they did in the past. They have no choice but to rely only on one another as they become increasingly resourceful in their management of the scant materials they have available to them.
The influence of Williamson is all over Sick, and not only in the plot. The Scream fandom will appreciate the subtle nods, but there is no famous killer among them. Hyams gives life to a generic stalker that lurks in the shadows and follows Parker and Miri around. This time around, there is no cinematic disguise that will make them stick out and become instantly recognizable. Despite this, the savagery they leave behind is undeniably a legacy of their existence.
When one considers the context of the film’s release, there is a possibility that some audiences will worry if the subject matter is too controversial. On the other hand, nobody can deny that the tale was successful in its ability to evoke anxiety and tension.
It would have been easy to slap up a story that revolves around the stay-at-home orders, but the filmmakers really managed to make it feel genuine. Two friends, one of whom takes everything seriously while the other only puts on a front to make their companion feel at ease. Despite the central focus on COVID, the slasher thrills and surprises in SICK are not diminished in the least. Rather, everything comes together in a rather powerful manner in the film’s final act.
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