When writer Kevin Williamson’s first feature film, Scream, was released back in 1996, it revitalized the slasher horror subgenre for a new generation. That franchise may still be chugging along without him, with a sixth entry in theaters soon, but now he’s back, with co-writer Katelyn Crabb (who was his assistant on Scream) and director John Hyams to try to put a new spin on the genre once more, with decidedly mixed results.
Sick begins just as widespread COVID-19 lockdowns are being put into place and college student Miri Woodlow (Beth Million) is going with her wealthy friend Parker Mason (Gideon Adlon) to quarantine in her family’s large, lakeside cabin. Though their intention was to be alone in the otherwise unoccupied house, their first night there Parker’s lovestruck fling DJ (Dylan Sprayberry) shows up, having deduced the girls’ location via their Instagram posts. Ultimately, the girls agree to let him stay and set about trying to enjoy themselves, unaware of the black-clad figure that’s been watching them from the tree line. That is until later that night, when the intruder decides it’s time to make their presence known.
Sick is never going to have the outsize cultural influence that Scream did for a variety of reasons, not least of which is that while novel, the antagonist’s motivations might have sounded good on paper but in execution seem almost ludicrously stupid. Other than that, not much really stands out about the movie. The directing is serviceable and the acting is good during the scary bits and less so the rest of the time, but to some degree none of these complaints really matter because of the one thing Sick does have going for it. For much of the runtime, it’s really scary. Very few movies can pack so many well-earned jump scares in a swift 80-minute package, but this one really delivers on that front. Viewers willing to overlook its flaws will have a lot of fun with Sick. ★★★
rated r for strong violence, terror, language throughout, and some drug use.
★★★★★ = Excellent | ★★★★ = Very Good | ★★★ = Good | ★★ = Fair | ★ = Poor