Review: SICK, John Hyams Teams up With Kevin Williamson And Katelyn Crabb For a Bruising Slasher

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Review: SICK, John Hyams Teams up With Kevin Williamson And Katelyn Crabb For a Bruising Slasher
At the peak of the pandemic and with the onset of lockdowns, Parker takes her best friend Miri to quarantine at her family’s lake house. It is as remote as one can get, where the nearest neighbor is miles away. By isolating themselves from everyone else they believe that they’re safe. Or are they? 
Why are we watching Sick? For the horror and action of course! We are pleased to say that it will deliver in both parts. The action is brutal, rough and violent, taking typical slasher violence and hurtling it against walls, over countertops and through windows. You feel a lot of anger behind each attack. The moments are heightened, a fight for survival, all out brawls! Do not fret, it also makes time to create one really, really cool wow moment midway through, a kill that should “hold up” with the passage of time. 
Did Hyams take home any pointers after he made the best Universal Soldier sequel, Day of Reckoning? Has he been holding out for something that would give him the opportunity to bring back even an inkling of that level of intensity in that past film? Maybe. Credit is also due to stunt coordinator Eliza Coleman for their work with the stunt performers. This includes an awesome fire stunt later in the film that pushes the time limit for such a thing. 
Under the direction of Hyams, Federico Verardi’s (Bingo Hell) camera work is top notch in the action scenes. Together they hide the cuts by moving in on the subjects and using that closeness to black out the screen, where they can make the edit, then pull back from their subject in a new cut that carries on from that exact point. Not only does it extend the scene, making it appear longer, it allows for short bursts of full energy from the stunt performers, again making the fights appear an all out battle for minutes instead of brutal bursts chopped to bits in the edit bay. The opening murder turns into an all out brawl and despite the chaos Hyams and Verardi still managed to make the action discernible and the scene flow really well. 
The illusion was complete. 
Counter to the bombastic slasher violence Hyams knows when to shut up and let the sound of silence and as simple a device, a visual cue like an open door do the talking. Such a terrific job at letting tension lead the way to the horror action. 
Writer Kevin Williamson built his reputation on writing screenplays that were smarter than, or at least very self aware of the tropes in horror flicks before the first Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer came around. A victim of his own success, just the mere mention of his name now means that following screenplays and films come with an expectation. 
Like mentioning Shyamalan. 
See? You did it again. 
At the start of Slick, Williamson and his co-writer, his 2022 Scream protege Katelyn Crabb, flirt with his first and most famous setup. It’s been fine tuned for modern technology because they already did it again in 2022 Scream and who even has a landline any more? Now it starts in public, out in the open, at that time when we were doing our part and keeping our distance from each other. This invasion of space, physical and digital, makes it unsettling. 
Sick could be seen as an homage to what made Williamson famous to begin with. With Crabb at his side the pair still manage to pull off a couple surprises deep into the story. Or, on the flip side, for those of us who have been there from the start, there are moments when we will say, “Ah, remember when he did this the first, second and third time?’. We don’t think Sick is that predictable in any regard, just largely familiar. When Crabb sets out on her own it will be interesting to see what she keeps and what she makes her own in screenplays to come. 
We would be remiss if we did talk not about how the pandemic is utilized in all of this? Largely it will serve as a time capsule of what some were doing during the first waves. It’s more than creating the scenario where the girls are on their own; the pandemic is not the worst part of the moment. Wayless youths and teens have been going to the woods and getting into trouble since the dawn of time. We shouldn’t say anything further about the pandemic in this film. 
If pressed for more we might say that a bit of a hangup about the film is that the sub-genre is known for high body counts and here you have two young women in a house by the lake. That does not present a bounty of opportunity for our psycho killer standing in the tree line. 
On the other hand, Sick is laser focused on Parker, Miri and their survival. There is no room for fluff in this one. After the opening kill these girls are all the killer is focused on. Have at it for eighty plus minutes and you got yourselves a leaner than usual slasher flick that is equal parts comfort food that still manages to conjure up oohs and aahs from this reviewer. 
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