Sick ★★★½

Remember the '80s (and the late '90s) when the biggest horror came in the form of a guy (sometimes a girl) in a mask?

Remember 2020 - 2021 when the biggest horror came in the form of a guy (almost always a guy, usually in a crowded grocery store) who refused to wear a mask?

Sick is an attempt at marrying the two concepts into one horrifying concoction, and damn if it doesn't work.

Screenwriter Kevin Williamson returns to the genre he helped redefine once upon a time with another self-aware slasher. As directed by John Hyams (son of Peter), Sick is a lean, mean killing machine that sets up a simple concept and lets it unwind at a rapid pace. By keeping things confined (or quarantined, one might say) to less than an hour and a half, there just isn't enough time to get sick of Sick, simple and direct as it is.

Gideon Adlon (daughter of Pamela) and Beth Million play two roughly drawn characters that are on opposite ends of the spectrum. One isn't taking this whole pandemic thing too seriously and often forgets to wear a mask (even when it might literally save her life), while the other is hyper-cautious, spraying sanitizer everywhere she goes and constantly walking on eggshells. Both head to a remote cabin where they can hide out until this whole thing passes over (lol), but find themselves stalked by a brutal killer who, at the very least, knows how to wear his mask.

Williamson's script is smart and self-aware, as per usual, but nowhere near as hyper as his heyday. That said, there's something comforting and nostalgic about watching a movie where young folks spew his dialogue again, and doubly so that it wasn't rewritten by Ehren Kruger this time. The violence calls back to the first two Screams in that it can be harsh but never goes over-the-top. In the end, it's the human behavior that provides the greatest horror, after all. With that in mind, Sick is a throwback to a simpler time in horror while splashing around in some still sensitive recent history. I don't know about you, but I've definitely watched worse on streaming from the comfort of my own home in recent years. Like Prey, this one deserved a theatrical run.

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