Sick Girl (2009)
Directed by Eben McGarr
The anticipation I had for Sick Girl is easily documented. The PSA trailer is black humor genius. So it was my assumption we'd get the same tone for the movie. We'd see a sadistic serial killer, with a dark sense of humor killing for illogical reasons and ending in a pinnacle of extreme violence.
Well sometimes what you think in your head comes out way cooler than what you see in the movie.
Sick Girl does have moments of gore and splatter that gorehounds would vote in the sick shit Hall of Fame. Izzy is easily one of the most demented serial killers ever to come to life on film. Her acts of brutality are so shocking it's hard to put in words (don't worry I'll try). But that's the extent of wow factor. The story, the characters and the acting are a little boring and the ending a little blah.
So what does this all equal? Sick Girl accomplishes what it set out to do. Make you wince, make you sick and definitely makes you feel uncomfortable.
Sick Girl is the story of Izzy, a girl that wants to protect her little brother, bang her older brother and torture everyone else out in the barn. Izzy is raising her younger brother, Kevin, by herself.
Their parents are deceased and her older brother, Rusty, (who she has incestuous fantasies about), is away in the Marines. When Izzy learns that her little brother is being bullied at school, she does what any unstable, psychopathic, homicidal sister (with no impulse control) would do.
Let's get the inevitable comparisons out of the way. Sick Girl closely resembles Eric Stanze's Scrapbook which is the pinnacle of indie horror fuckedupness. It's serial killing, done in Rural Town, USA and the mundane turning insane.
Shot on video and armed with a shoestring budget McGarr shows us the simple story of Izzy (short for Isabella) and her life when she's sane and her life when she's insane. The tragedy here is Sick Girl is like 65% normal life, and 35% looney tunes. As a jaded viewer, I've seen shit most people would think warrants prison. So if McGarr's first feature is designed to shock, he's got to get over that 50% threshold of amping his movie with 1 and half hour energy drink of fuckedupness.
Sick Girl almost plays out like a porn movie. Think of this as "Gorn". Each normal scene sets up a scene of pure, uncensored torturous gore and splatter. As much as you'd like to fast forward and get to the good stuff, you feel the need to watch the set up. I mean technically it's not necessary but for horror, its best to know the motivation for the kill scenes.
So what do we see when Izzy isn't maiming and going all Jigsaw?
Izzy has flashbacks of her brother training on some kung fu
Izzy tickles and plays with her little brother
Izzy visit's her brother's teacher
Izzy has Christmas gift exchange with her brother and her late father's best friend Barney
Izzy rides with a stranger who gives her a lift
Izzy has flashbacks of her late brother and his GF
As much as these scenes are suppose to give us some insight into Izzy's head...it actually doesn't do shit. We all know Izzy is mentally unstable and we, the viewer are here to see her be mentally unstable. Its like watching a movie that's designed to shock and punch you mentally in the face nards. So what are these WTF moments that closely resemble gorn?
Read on gorn-hounds!
Izzy pees on a nun
Izzy slits a dude's throat
Izzy goes postal on a school bus
Izzy kisses her brother (incest alert!)
Izzy makes a tweeny boy kill his BFFs (by making him drown and stab them)
Izzy holds survivors hostage in a barn
Izzy smashes tweeny bully's head with a sledgehammer
Izzy makes the hostages pee in a bucket
Izzy breaks tweeny boy's arm and dresses him as a Christmas tree
Izzy castrates a dude
Izzy rapes a girl with dude's castrated penis (yeah you read that right)
So like seeing an orgy of flesh, we see an orgy of death. And I'm not going to lie, it's truly disturbing to witness such depravity and uber violence especially coming from Izzy. Which goes to say something about Leslie Andrew's performance. At times, the dialogue she recites sounds like a 3rd grade play, at other times she delivers lines that amp up and portray a very disturbed Manson like killer. The times we do see what was promised by the PSA trailer of trademarked black humor, is the time Andrew's performance generates some comfortable ha ha's and LOLs. She's got that Ellen Page Hard Candy look that can make you fall in love. A hooded sweatshirt, short hair can only equal somebody who is a sadistic little monster and for some unknown reason it's slightly infatuating. Izzy's little brother Kevin (Charlie Trepany) does a decent job playing the lovable innocent as does Barney (John McGarr) who plays a pseudo father figure to both Barney and Izzy.
But whereas indie shock horror goes beyond the usual torture porn is when we sense the motives of the slasher are developed. I can watch the movie 2-3 more times and I still wouldn't understand why Izzy has gone all ballistic (though at the end, some reason is given). Did she snap? Is she reveng-ing everybody who she hates or has ridiculed her and her family? Does she hate the Marines? Does she hate farm animals? Trust me, it's not clear at all.
Sick Girl is gorn at its finest. But an awesome movie it is not. It falls right in place in the middle and as much as I tried to find something that could give it a better "ooomph" in the spinkick department, I could not. I mean when was the last time you went, "that sex scene in that porno is awesome...I gotta share this with others." See what I mean?
Sick Girl is mock and shock movie that purees mundane Americana and unrelenting violence into a cocktail of visual splatter overdrive. Eben McGarr is clearly going to not make a movie as insane as this, I'm hoping he doesn't. But the one thing Sick Girl has accomplished, it's making sure you feel dirty after watching it.
Just like porn.
See Izzy's list of torture
It's not porn..it's gorn!
The Jaded Viewer's Final Prognosis
Straight out of Synapse Films, Sick Girl is now out on DVD. It's also available on Amazon.com. Check out the MySpace site for more info.
If you are a fringe fan of extreme horror, I'd say go watch Sick Girl. It would definitely be a movie that would be traded for back before DVDs and the Interwebs. I would even go as far to say that it may reach cult classic status like Scrapbook has.
The MySpace site has a nice interview with Leslie Andrews which is definitely worth a listen.
So in conclusion, if you don't feel like porn, watch some gorn. And Sick Girl is the perfect movie for it.
Check out the trailers.
Sick Girl "Thank You For Not Talking" PSA
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