REVIEW: ‘Sick’ Captures Pandemic Anxiety in a Slasher

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SICK — But Why Tho

Films about the pandemic haven’t really succeeded. For every KIMI, there are two Songbirds, and there really is no in-between. But with Peacock’s Original horror film SICK, pandemic anxiety about being around other humans is the perfect fuel for a slasher with bite. Directed by John Hyams and written by the iconic Kevin Williamson and Katelyn Crabb, the film stars Gideon Adlon, Bethlehem Million, Marc Menchaca, and Jane Adams.

The premise of the film is all too familiar. We see the world come to a screeching halt as COVID-19 causes lockdowns, and in that anxious halting of the world, the film opens with a killer making an appearance. After an opening sequence that builds tension and sets the narrative, we meet Parker and Miri. With classes canceled and social functions forbidden to limit the spread of the virus,  Parker (Gideon Adlon) decides to quarantine at her family’s vacant summer home. With its remote location, it feels like the ideal place to spend lockdown. She invites her best friend Miri to accompany her, and together the two young women hope to relax and unwind as the rest of the world remains on edge. However, their plans for peace and quiet are upended, when a surprise visitor turns up uninvited. As a shocking turn of events unfolds, Parker and Miri have to fight for their lives.

Using the stay-at-home orders as the catalyst for the film’s narrative could have been done cheaply, but instead, it all feels real. Right down to one friend taking it all very seriously and another just masking to keep the person they’re with comfortable. While COVID is what SICK revolves around, the film never once loses any of its slasher bite or twists because of it. Instead, the film’s third act pulls everything together in a way that packs a pretty big punch. At least for me, an immunocompromised person who is still worried about catching COVID and what that could mean for my life. The takes on the pandemic aside, which I won’t spoil, SICK is just a damn good slasher.

Parker and Miri are a stellar pair that never once stop fighting back against their attacker. The killer use of one location makes the remote cabin its own character and the choice of minimal lighting makes every hall and corner a tense moment. Additionally, the intruder that stalks our protagonists is brutal. Instead of wavering in their resolve against them, the girls meet that with intelligent choices and the drive to be just as brutal.

Writing about SICKlike any slasher, is a little hard. The reveals at the end of the film pack a punch that only Kevin Williamson can and are best left watched, not spoiled. That said, what I can tell about is how phenomenal and physical Aldon and Million are as Parker and Miri. Not only is their chemistry as friends authentic, but their ability to capture the grit every final girl needs is perfect. They get physical (and bloody) while also thinking through each step in a way that is entertaining without being vapid. All of this leads to some of the best slasher action moments to mark the start of 2023’s horror line-up.

SICK distills real-world anxiety into a slasher in a perfect blend of thoughtfulness and bloody entertainment.

SICK is streaming exclusively on Peacock now.


SICK
  • 8.5/10
    Rating - 8.5/10
8.5/10

TL;DR

SICK distills real-world anxiety into a slasher in a perfect blend of thoughtfulness and bloody entertainment.

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