Starring Debbie Rochon, Christina Aceto, Richard Roy Sutton
Directed by Ryan M. Andrews
Distributed by Midnight Releasing
The art of grabbing ahold of the same old tired formula and giving it the fresh spin that is sorely needed is quite an undertaking, especially within the zombie sub-genre of the horror movie spectrum. As fans of this wide-open platform, we’ve got to admit that virtually every conceivable aspect of the undead apocalypse has been covered wall to wall, some with beneficial results, while others are left to rot atop the scrap heap, and with director Ryan M. Andrew’s SICK: Survive the Night, this falls underneath the mid-level line between “been there, done that” and “jeez, what a stinker.”
Settled time-wise around two years after the aforementioned apocalypse that has seemingly decimated the world’s population, leaving either small bands of survivalist refugees, or hordes of shambling, flesh-craving zombies (wow, seems as if I’ve seen something like this before), we follow Dr. Leigh Rozetta (Aceto), a government doctor who is tirelessly working non-stop to find a cure for the virus that has caused this mess. After virtually giving up due to mounting pressure from the executives-in-charge, she opts to head to her parents’ home in the hopes of clearing the cobwebs from her skull.
During her pilgrimage she runs into a pair of grizzled militant survivors (Richard Roy Sutton and Robert Nolan) that are on the run themselves from the walking undead, and the three unwillingly decide to ride out the death-storm inside the good doc’s parents’ domicile. As you would figure, the threat coming from the outside of the home is small peas considering the harsh feelings within the newly-formed triangle of survivor-dom inside the house.
The film manages to step aside from the usual human-zombie clash that we’ve all seen a thousand times before, instead traveling the route of human-human interior struggle to delve into each character’s psyche, what makes them tick, and how they attempt to interact with each other in the face of complete devastation. The only problem is that this seems to be the new normal as far as storylines are concerned. The performances are what could be expected when contending with a small budget, where overacting has a tendency to rule the roost, and it’s on display here, although not to a fatal extent. All three of the lead characters have their moments, and even sadly underused scream queen Debbie Rochon as Dr. Fehmi, who is mainly seen through cameo video feeds, still manages to hit her mark and give the fans a ray of sunshine in an otherwise dismal presentation.
Not to say that SICK isn’t entertaining in some aspects and very well could be held in high regard by some zombie aficionados, but it simply breaks down to “What have you done for me lately?” We’ve seen it all, and it’s time for a change – hopefully soon.