Sick is far from original, delivering a run-of-the-mill slasher while pretending to have something to say

by Gordon Shelly

Is this what pandemic related horror movies are going to look like moving forward? Maybe. Maybe not. Either way, Sick is targeting the same young adult and adolescent audiences Scream has been chasing down for thirty years.

Sick hits viewers with a pandemic storyline, fresh off the stay-at-home orders, dumping us into the action as the world shuts down in 2020.

Tyler (Joel Courtney) is in a bare-shelved supermarket trying to navigate his life in the new normal — a life without toilet paper.

Sick immediately jumps into the world of slashers but plays out more like a gory chase movie. Tyler is hassled by mysterious text messages asking if he wants to party, ultimately leading to his bloody confrontation with a masked killer. Heard this formula before? Yes, this is a plug-and-play Scream ripoff, with a masked killer using phones as the first attack.

Truthfully, this could have been called Sick: A Scream Story and nobody would have asked questions.

There is little new about Sick. It basically takes the premise of Scream (without the meta self-references), clearly outlines the rules for this slasher, and movies forward with blood spewing, guts spilling, and knives slashing through flesh.

The basic rules — follow shelter in place orders, stay in quarantine, and don’t party. Break those rules, and the killer comes for you.

Sick puts a trio of teenagers Parker (Gideon Adlon), Miri (Bethlehem Million) and DJ (Dylan Sprayberry) in an isolated cabin with poor cell service so the madness can ensue without any expectation of help.

The trio quickly falls under attack by, not one, but another trio of would-be slashers led by Pamela (Jane Adams), along with Jason (Marc Menchaca) and Jeb (Chris Reid).

The movie is overloaded with jump scares but delivers on commercialized gore, never pushing the limits but making the viewer feel like they have seen more than enough.

As the story reveals more about its antagonists, Sick seems to want to deliver a message, but what that message is, remains unclear as the filmmakers clearly walk a delicate line worried about offending its audience with politics instead of gore.


Gordo’s Grade: C+