Sick (Horror) (2022)
Director: John Hyams
Writer: Kevin Williamson, Katelyn Crabb
Stars: Gideon Adlon, Beth Million, Dylan Sprayberry, Jane Adams
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a student and her best friend intend to spend the weekend at a family-owned lake house. However, their plans aren’t as relaxing as they hoped when one of them starts receiving creepy texts.
Tackling themes surrounding the coronavirus isn’t original anymore after projects such as ‘’Together’’, ‘’The Bubble’’, ‘’Kimi’’ and more. But, John Hyams provides an attempt within the horror genre. Previously having worked on projects like zombie TV-series ‘’Z Nation’’ and ‘’Black Summer’’. Filmed in Weber County, Utah, ‘’Sick’’ was produced by Miramax, Blumhouse Productions and Outerbanks Entertainment while distributed by Peacock.
While the quarantine is in full-effect, Parker (Gideon Adlon) and her best friend Miri (Beth Million) decide to stay at the lake house owned by Parker’s family. As they arrive, they start receiving unsettling texts, seemingly of someone stalking the duo. To their surprise, Parker’s Ex also visits, hoping to rekindle their relationship, which soon proves to be the least of their worries as disguised intruders enter the lodge with murderous intent.
Each of us struggled in some manner; during the pandemic, perhaps teenagers were more-so affected. These are formative years of learning, friendship and developing opinions; Hyams youngsters within ‘’Sick’’ are presented much as typical slasher victims, but relationships stand as a strong bond against a foreign threat.
Yet another COVID-19 film, the use of a gimmick that should be on its last legs in 2023. At least Hyams provides the theme within an honestly expected genre, and it’s surprising not to have seen this before. There’s a certain feeling that quarantine, everyone remaining in the safety of their own homes, prevents help from arriving, with nobody trusting each other, which means the set-up is not a bad idea.
Before being introduced to Gideon Adlon’s Parker, an oblivious teenager that is unafraid of the virus and stubbornly refuses to wear masks; we’re following Joel Courtney’s Tyler. Who’s used to set-up the COVID-19 circumstances presenting a somewhat exaggerated and frustrated society. Receiving some odd texts, Tyler is being stalked at the understocked supermarket. As he arrives in his apartment, he’s subtly distracted and ambushed by the figure likely sending the texts. When switching to Parker, time is taken to establish the new set of characters with introduced tension once she starts receiving similar texts as Tyler.
There isn’t any re-invention in Hyams’ horror for avid horror-enthusiasts; it’ll present recognisable ways of making the viewer familiar with how the killer operates in Tyler’s opening scenes. But, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t effectively introduce tension in the elongated main act. Camera movements and repeatedly used angles provide a well-established form, easy to sink yourself into. ‘’Sick’’ doesn’t dance around any approaches and understands the clichés, showing a profound understanding from Hyams. This polished project has a place alongside a franchise like ‘’Scream’’, which in many minds—has perfected the genre.
Despite being fond of Hyams’ slasher, there’s still convenient scripting that could’ve been provided more directly, such as the phones being taken away. Eventual motives are also explained, tying us back to the coronavirus gimmick, which takes a backseat throughout the main act. This unveiling didn’t quite hit right—creative but mediocre.
If ‘’Sick’’ lacks anything, its substance within content, there’s a certain emptiness within scenes, admittedly though, I admit it is substantially improved due to the immense understanding of slasher horror and excellent camerawork.
I’m honestly sick of COVID-19 flicks.