SICK -- A COVID Spin on SCREAM
Review by Tatiana Miranda
From the writer of Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer is the new COVID-19 slasher film Sick. Sick takes place during April 2020 as lockdowns begin and COVID cases rise. In order to quarantine from being at college, friends Parker and Miri decide to stay at Parker's family lakehouse. Away from the craziness of others possibly carrying COVID, their secluded quarantine seems perfect until they realize that they're not alone. Stalked by a masked killer, Parker and Miri must try to stay safe, and not just from the virus.
Sick opens up as Tyler, a young man who is friends with Parker, is grocery shopping. Masked and six feet away from his fellow shoppers, Tyler begins to receive alarming texts, similar to the calls from Ghostface in the Scream franchise. Via text, he is invited to a party, with the condition that he must be COVID safe. After leaving the store, more era-appropriate references are made, such as him taking his mask off immediately upon leaving the store and wiping down his groceries with Clorox wipes when he gets home. Paranoid about COVID, he misses the killer breaking into his home, and his untimely death sets the mood for the rest of the movie.
While this movie is relatively original regarding its COVID plot points, it is a typical slasher with its jump scares and suspense. More than once, characters are seemingly magically revived, and with the small cast, it comes in handy to keep the killer from killing them off all at once. The intimacy of a small cast makes their close quarters all the more eerie and poignant when a stranger appears among them. The movie also makes it a point to showcase how Miri and Parker view the virus, with Miri being more strict about masks and social distancing than Parker is.
Even though it is one of the few films surrounding COVID-19, Sick is nothing extraordinary in terms of a horror movie, with its typical jump scares and lazy character writing. Unlike classics such as Scream, none of the characters are properly developed, and even the killer's motives feel cheesy and unplanned. Overall, the film feels more like a comedy in how it pokes fun at how people acted during the beginning of the pandemic. Although it is enjoyable in terms of suspense, Sick is one of the more unmemorable horror films from recent years.
Sick is now streaming on Peacock.
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