Sick [TIFF22 Review]

It’s been a few days since I saw the film, but I’m still reeling from the fact that Kevin Williamson was in my screening. 

For those unaware, the Scream franchise is my favourite franchise of all time. I have a Ghostface tattoo and know it will not be the only Scream-related tattoo I’ll get. This is to say that, frankly, this review needs a literal asterisk because it feels like this film was made for me.

As I previously wrote in my most anticipated films of the festival, both the director and the Williamson credit are what made me want to see it. Also, a slasher plays a factor as well. When it came to the director, I was familiar with his work due to the film Alone, which I saw at Fantasia and had an incredibly great time with. So did Kevin Williamson. He and Katelyn Crabb wanted to tackle a slasher set during COVID to compare what could be scarier than a disease trying to get you. Kevin saw Alone and thought, “this is the person who needs to direct the film.” 

Sick is a film that Kevin wanted two things to come from it, to take the horror of the pandemic and turn it into something he knows how to do well, turn it into a masked killer. The other thing he wanted was to have a film filled with chase scenes. During the Q&A, he mentioned how the film has an Act 1 (and the typical cold opening kill) and then goes straight into Act 3. During the cold opening, I knew we were in good hands. As the killer is revealed, and our first victim is fighting and running for his life, the camera runs with him. Swung to one direction and then to the other, attached to keep them in the frame at all times.

There are a lot of films at the festival that I had a lot of fun with, due to just the audience alone, that watching the movie in the comfort of my own home without a loud cheering crowd might minimize my enjoyment — Sick is one of the films that does work well still at home. Watching it at home gave me the same responses and reactions by myself. That’s a testament to the tremendously precise and straightforward (not in a derogatory sense) story and script. Sometimes, a minimal plot works to the film’s advantage, and this is one of them.

Sick is the Scream for the pandemic world would be an easy comparison (and likely not wrong), but at the same time, it gives us two villains to be terrified of, especially since both are highly relentless.