Scrubbing down your groceries is the most terrifying thing of all

Sick begins with Tyler, a typical twenty-something, who is buying groceries in the opening days of the COVID pandemic, so nerves are high and supplies are low. He gets standard—for slasher movies—stalkery text messages and ignores them. At home, he is interrupted from his routine of Lysol-ing his groceries by an intruder, dressed in black. After a long chase through his small apartment, Tyler gets his neck slashed. Pretty standard slasher movie stuff.

Sick then cuts to the film’s main protagonists, Parker (Gideon Adlon) and Miri (Bethlehem Million), who are heading to Parker’s family’s posh lakeside mansion to quarantine in style alone. Their plans are interrupted by DJ (Dylan Sprayberry), who has been hooking up casually with Parker, found her via social media and decided to come find her. The girls take pity on him for driving all the way out there, and let him stay the night. But then, of course, comes the killer, and the slashing begins with them too.

Image via NBC Universal

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Sick is a pretty formulaic slasher flick until the third act, and while it takes a while to get there—and the getting there takes a bit of patience—it’s in the final segment where Sick is at its most interesting. For example, it seems to take the aforementioned Tyler an exceedingly long time to die, and when he finally does, it’s unclear why he is a part of the story. The reason for his death is finally revealed toward the end of the film, but the choice to save these answers for later still felt too drawn out to be effective, and the kill itself isn’t particularly interesting on its own.

Director John Hyams, who has plenty of horror films and TV shows to his name like Chucky and Black Summer, knows what he is doing and does a good job with a basic slasher story. He knows where to place the killer in the background to make them seem foreboding, he knows how to set up an appropriate jump scare, and also when to fake out the viewer at the right time.

Image via Danno Nell 

With a script from Scream writer Kevin Williamson, one would expect Sick to have a little more humor. The scenes with Miri constantly reminding her companions to put on their masks, or spraying Lysol in the air like air freshener and wiping down groceries are attempts at pandemic comedy, but not enough time has passed to make this moment in time all that funny. Tragedy + time = comedy, right? However, one attempt at pandemic comedy does work, when Parker is running from the killer and tries to get saved by a motorist who won’t let her in his car without a mask.

Sick is a decent slasher that hits all the right buttons, has some good scares and bloody kills, and has a unique take on the slasher tale—as long as you have the patience to get there. But considering this is from the writer of Scream, it’s hard to not hope for a little bit more than this.

Rating: C+

Sick is now streaming on Peacock.

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