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Home > Sick (2023): A Review

Sick (2023): A Review

Sick

A Bloodthirsty, Creepy, Funny Masterpiece

Sick, dare say, will go down as one of the greatest slasher films of all time. Its self-awareness is as shocking, yet all too familiar, as looking at a positive at-home COVID test. Set in April 2020, writer Kevin Williamson (Scream, I Know What You Did Last Summer, The Vampire Diaries) takes us back to the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Packed with enough details to make us feel like we’re still living in that anxiety-ridden point in time, the 2023 movie slaps its audience with smart suspense and brilliant, dark humor. 

The film revolves around two best friends — the confident Parker Mason (Gideon Adlon) and the willing but cautious Miri (Bethlehem Million) — who take a “quarantine-in-style” vacation together to Mason’s dad’s remote luxurious cabin. While the two women try to enjoy a little getaway amid the worldwide chaos, they encounter what appears to be a random stalker. However, they soon realize that the killer is much more than just some deranged psycho. This monster has their own motive to exterminate the young adults. 

Sick knows that less is more, but Blumhouse Productions still made sure to weave its signature classic slasher movie elements into the mix. With such a simple title, setting, and plot, the movie maintains a buoyant energy through rising urgency. 

All in the Details

Right from the start, we already feel immersed into the horrific year we once lived in with masks, constant sanitization, social distancing, and the daily reminder of viral case count statistics. Sick doesn’t deride this period, though; it simply shows it on a screen — something most productions haven’t dared to do until recently. 

We meet the movie’s first victim, Tyler (Joel Courtney) in a grocery store. As he walks through the aisles, we see those recognizable floor-taped arrows that would guide us to avoid walking past another human being. Seriously, if we all take a moment to think about it, the world we were living in was a true apocalyptic environment, and Sick helps us see that without being petty. 

Next, we see our guy – who is basically the equivalent to Drew Barrymore’s character in 1996’s Scream – face the predicament we all recall: the toilet paper shortage! Yes, Sick spares no details. Store shelves are completely empty. But to top it all off, the opening scene includes one particular moment that stands out. We see the shoppers stand in line (6 feet apart of course) and simultaneously flinch and turn to look at a girl who briefly coughs. We have to admit that this is not an exaggeration. 

Once we meet Miri, however, we’re reminded of why we were so cautious in the first place throughout 2020. The COVID-cogniscient character makes it clear to Parker that she can’t contract the virus because of an immunocompromised parent. So, it’s not ridiculous to see her literally Lysol-ing the air during the little dance party she has with Parker and her flame, DJ (Dylan Sprayberry). However, we can’t help but stifle a giggle at the sight of it. 

One of the most impactful yet minor details of all, though, are the two separate scenes of characters disinfecting groceries. Remember those reports we saw about how to properly clean items we brought back home? This became our “new normal” at the time, and Sick doesn’t hesitate to remind us of that. 

Petty Hyperbole

Like other satirical horror flicks, Sick is so self-aware to the point where Williamson knew he needed to vaccinate it with some witty exaggeration to lighten the mood. 

The power of the face mask goes a long way throughout the film. While we see it being used normally in the first half, newer characters pull us down a sharp, funny abyss in the second half of the movie. 

As seen in the hilarious teaser trailer, we see Parker trying to escape the stalker and flagging down a nearby driver. But this is 2020, folks – why would you let an unmasked person get inside your car in the middle of the night? Well, here’s Parker’s dilemma as we see her desperately trying to get help from this one aloof, health-conscious lady who says, “You have a mask, don’t you?” as Parker sobs, “Are you kidding me?” No, Parker, she’s not. Nobody wants to get COVID.

Even the antagonist has one very brief, hilarious moment with their face mask, which is cleverly used as both full coverage of their identity and protection against those “droplets” in the air! 

Sick

Classic Slasher Moments

While we’re laughing at the intense hilarity, Sick still serves up the classic slasher movie platter. Now that we’ve officially transitioned away from ‘90s landline calls, stalker texting is now the way to go. After all, a lot of people have unfortunately received that anonymous text that read “nice ass” just like Tyler does.  

The introductory victim and the main character receive uber creepy messages from an unknown number. Clearly, someone is watching them, but why take it seriously? It’s not like someone actually found out that Parker and Miri went to a lake house after the apparent Instagram-famous Parker posted a photo of it on social media. Yes, we’re stumped on this one. 

Cinematography is key in every high-quality horror movie. Sick plays with dim-lit, zoom-ins and zoom-outs on the characters’ expressions, a suspense tactic that audiences eat up easily. It’s definitely effective whenever we get a glimpse at what could be the killer in the background, swiftly lurking around like a ghost. Parker’s hallway walkthrough is such a subtle yet nail-biting scene that whenever she turns a corner, Sick’s camera angles flow alongside the eerie score. 

Once we reach the climax, we witness the epic faceoff between our heroines and the killer. The two women have what appears to be endless acres of land and a lake, the picture-perfect location for a psychopath to hunt them down. So, where can they go? A car would be helpful, but alas, leave it to a classic slasher film moment to ruin the most helpful tool of escape.  

The Twist

There is a carefully calculated twist at the very end of the film that we truly do not see coming. Just like Williamson’s Ghostface, the masked antagonist does, indeed, have a personal motive. The unveiling of our villain was crafted using that aforementioned hyperbolic humor in addition to the element of surprise. 

Throughout the whole film, we have no idea why the young women are being hunted. The killer is undeniably relentless; they refuse to back down, but why? What did the protagonists do that motivated someone to stalk, taunt, and hurt them? 

Aside from the big finale, there is another revelation about Parker during the movie that jolts viewers. She is capable of violence, not just self-defense. Despite the fact that she and Miri must fend off this mysterious killer, could there be something about Parker that casts doubt on her character? 

Since it was written and produced by some of the most well-known names in horror cinema, Sick resembles past films almost verbatim in a few areas. However, the parody and true depiction of the pandemic work hand in hand to unravel a refreshing, creative, and overall fearless new narrative. Are we able to look back on the reality that was 2020 and laugh about it now, or is it too soon? Either way, Sick lets its audience decide who is to blame here. 

Sick is streaming on Peacock.

Sick

Sick (2023) Official Peacock Trailer

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Elisabeth joined Dead Talk News in 2022 and loves movies and TV! After working for various sites, including Screen Rant and Showbiz Cheat Sheet, Elisabeth joined DTN to critique and review various movies, from horror flicks to Disney live-actions.