S.I.C.K. (2003)

Reviewed by The Foywonder

Starring Ken Hebert, Amanda Watson, Chris Bruck, Melissa Bale, Charlie Fenwick

Directed by Bob “Helen Keller with a digital camera could do a better job than this guy!” Willems

Often times when I review a truly bad movie people will make the comment afterwards that I “took a bullet” for them. This time in addition to taking a bullet I was also beaten senseless and sodomized repeatedly. I hope you people appreciate what I had to go through here just to save you five bucks.

The name of my pain is S.I.C.K., 97 excruciatingly long minutes of suspense-free horror with only about ten minutes worth of actual plot directed by a guy that clearly has a lot to learn about lighting, blocking, and operating a digital camera. I don’t think it shock you if I also told you the acting wouldn’t even pass muster in a junior high talent show. I’ve reviewed some truly awful direct-to-video movies for Creature Corner and now Dread Central but this one wins the award for being the absolute worst…yet and I find it really hard to believe that I’m going to see anything anytime soon that manages to surpass it. This atrocity has become my measuring stick by which to judge all other movies completely devoid of any merit whatsoever. It is the worst of the worst and not just of this year, but any year. God help me if I ever find myself watching anything worse.

Where should I begin? I know. How about with a director who is either has little clue what he is doing or is simply a total hack?

Just about every single person or thing in the movie has a visible aura to it if the background is bright. Do you know what I’m talking about? Everything in the foreground has this little fuzzy outline around it, almost as if these people were working in front of a blue screen. This is very distracting. At first I wondered if my DVD was messed up but as the movie went on I came to realize that this was just a case of a filmmaker in dire need of some technical lessons or just to talentless to know better.

Here are a few more examples:

In one scene a hawk is shown flying overhead accompanied by the sound of a screeching bird. This is immediately followed by a shot of a dog barking but unfortunately nobody bothered to foley in the sound of a dog barking.

Someone pushes the button for the elevator or takes some groceries out of a paper bag and the director gives you a pointless close-up of the person’s hand pushing the button or picking up the grocery item. If a car backs out you get to the see the whole process in its entirety.

One scene has the characters conversing while driving to their destination. The face of the woman talking in the backseat can barely be made out because she is enshrouded in shadows. Someone needs a lesson in how to light and frame a shot because there is absolutely no excuse for not being able to make out an actor’s facial features in a close-up shot. Filmed in broad daylight no less.

Then there’s my personal favorite moment of directorial ineptitude, a moment that made me consider writing a letter of apology to the director of every movie I have ever trashed in a review. Simple shot; a man and a woman sitting on a bed at night having a dramatic conversation. That doesn’t sound too hard to shoot, does it? This director succeeds in blocking the scene so that there is a large shadow going right across the actress’ face making it completely impossible to see her face at all while she talks, whether it’s a close-up shot or not. All you can make out is her hair and part of her chin. Good grief, it’s like watching a secret witness testify on Court TV! Stuff like this is simply inexcusable. Their conversation leads to a sex scene that can also barely be seen due to cover of darkness. What’s the point of including a sex scene if you cannot see anything?

I’m not surprised that a movie like S.I.C.K. managed to get a DVD release because everyone knows horror movies with a few boobies and some explicit gore are all but guaranteed distribution by someone these days. The fact that a company like Artisan released what practically amounted to someone’s amateur home movie homage to horror movies much better than their own only proves that Artisan was about as discerning as a truck stop hooker. No wonder the company got bought out.

S.I.C.K. stands for Serial Insane Clown Killer. The original title was Grim Weekend. Artisan decided to come up with a more clever title when releasing it and chose to go the C.H.U.D. route. However, Serial Insane Clown Killer isn’t nearly as clever a moniker as Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers. Hell, it isn’t even as clever as R.O.T.O.R.

A guy gets his friend and his wife and a female co-worker to go on a weekend vacation to his family’s cabin out in the woods. Along the way they pick up another girl at a bar who just broke up with her creepy boyfriend mere minutes earlier. They gather around the campfire, smoke some dope, and listen to the girl they picked up describe her idea for a horror movie about a cannibal clown. Everyone then goes inside and engages in carnal activities. The next day the friend’s wife comes up missing and creepy dolls with ominous notes attached to them begin turning up. At this point everyone starts yelling and pointing fingers at one another then proceed to go skulking about the woods for the missing woman for what seems like an eternity looking. Then I begin making liberal use of the fast forward button.

S.I.C.K. doesn’t have an actual story. All it has is a premise. Ken Hebert is not only the star of this crapfest, he’s also the screenwriter, if you call this screenwriting, which I would not. He has come up with a set-up that leads to a twist ending, but he has completely forgotten that to get from the set-up to the twist ending there is an awful lot of time to fill. S.I.C.K. is comprised mostly of padding, scenes that are stretched out way too long, simple shots that go on way too long, and scenes that serve little or no purpose and go on way too long. We also get a bunch of character flashbacks or inner thoughts, virtually none of which add anything, especially since they’re based around one-dimensional characters that you don’t give a crap about. When the big twist at the end was revealed it really did sink in that about 95% of what had occurred up until then was merely a means by which to stretch out the film to feature length.

Even the Serial Insane Clown Killer himself is a crashing bore. He’s basically a fat guy in a clown costume wearing a clown mask that has that stitched up Leatherface look to it. His only other character trait is that he recites nursery rhyme verses, at first in a deep Satanic voice and later on in a manner that sounds like someone trying to do a really lame impression of a Frank Gorshin’s Riddler. He spends the majority of the movie out in the woods going through his pre-slashing warm up routine. When he finally goes after them at the cabin he still doesn’t do much of anything other than taunt them with his insipid rhymes. And the clown is really only shown killing one person in the whole movie and it isn’t much of a kill unless you are the type that is impressed with seeing a mannequin get decapitated. This guy is probably the lamest movie slasher ever. Then again, I’ve never seen Carnage: The Legend of Quitface. Still, this rappin’ John Wayne Gacy wannabe is one of the very worst.

I swear I could go on and on and on about how wretched, how boring, how incompetentand how utterly worthless this garbage was but I won’t. Simply put, I hated every millisecond of this movie. One scene in particular sums up my experience watching S.I.C.K. They open up the refrigerator and find an effigy from the killer along with a note that reads “YOU WILL REGRET THIS”. I do. I did. I will continue to do so. And so will anyone else who makes the mistake of watching this pathetic excuse for a movie.

And for anyone out there reading this review and thinking to themselves that this sounds so bad that they just have to see it for themselves – DON’T!

0 out of 5

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