Thursday, March 1, 2012
Sick Girl (2009) review
SICK GIRL 2009
Leslie Andrews (Izzy), Charlie Trepany (Kevin), John McGarr (Barney), Stephen Geoffreys (Mr. Putski)
Directed by Eban McGarr
The Short Version: Yet another horror-exploitation picture that models itself on the crop of cruelty that was being splattered and shotgunned across drive in and sleazepit theaters across the nation back in the creative cesspool of the savage 70s. This grubby little cinematic disease gets the gore and shock value right, but mucks up whatever artistic potential this 79 minute endurance test possesses with the worst acting this side of an Andy Milligan movie. Incredibly nasty and offensive, if you want to see kids being forced to murder each other, nuns being pissed on, a modern version of the 'Adultery Punishment' scene from CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST and an incestuous mass murderer, then this cruds for you.
Izzy is a disturbed young woman who cares for her little brother and unhealthily pines for her older brother who's a marine fighting in Iraq. With no parents to watch over them, a kindly biker friend named Barney occasionally looks in on the two. Terribly protective of her younger sibling, Izzy spends her spare time moonlighting as a mass murderer either ruthlessly butchering random people or torturing victims in her barn.
This independent feature has a good deal of potential as a character study dealing with the mental capacity of an extremely disturbed sociopath and her beyond brutal actions. Instead, the absolutely atrocious acting renders a major amount of this films power to barely a notch above any number of the shot on video shit stains that were excreted on the home video market during the mid to late 1980s. All that we're left with is a sincerely nasty mean-spiritedness that words can barely describe. Even when saddled with worse acting than your average Ed Wood extravaganza, it's nigh impossible to not wince at the sight of children being forced to murder one another, or a savagely creative rape scene that one ups the 'Adultery Punishment' sequence from CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST (1979).
But then, with such a catalog of cruelty marching out at regular intervals, one gets the impression the filmmakers had no interest in delivering engaging performances, but as much gory offensiveness as possible; on that, they succeed beyond expectations. After you've seen a helpless nun being urinated on, the execution of a handful of people on a bus, a human Christmas tree, a child forced to drown another, more child murder, suicide, a titanically gruesome castration scene and a bizarre "sewing scene" that recalls THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE (2010), the viewer is emotionally spent. Screaming for the camera is easy, but making the audience "believe" in the characters and what they're seeing is not. And with this lack of conviction, or inexperience from the actors, the lingering, graphic depiction of savagery is made all the more disgusting. If one were to make a comparison to porn, that application fits this film comfortably.
Take the child drowning sequence for instance. Izzy sets up the murder of three bullies that have been tormenting her little brother and delivers this twisted parental speech as to why bullying is bad. Like everything else, this scene has zero emotional gravitas. It simply makes you sick to your stomach that somebody filmed something like that. Fans of FRIGHT NIGHT (1985) and 976 EVIL (are there fans of 976 EVIL?) will rejoice in seeing Stephen Geoffreys as a quirky teacher. He's the single performer on hand here who can hold your attention when folks aren't begging for their life or being tortured to death. McGarr simply seems content with shocking the viewer and nothing more, which is a shame as there's a modicum of depth residing within the bowels of this turgid tumor of sadism and gore.
Written by director Garr, whatever purities he may have been going for are cruelly gagged, raped and butchered by Izzy's frequent murderous mood swings. Some of the photographic shots are mesmerizing in capturing the isolated expanse of rural America, but again, the atrocities devour whatever artistic integrity this 79 minute endurance test can muster. There's also a shock reveal at the end that you may already sense is coming much earlier on. Aside from its dangerous level of barbarism and taboo stomping, I didn't care for this film at all. Fans of graphic violent torture flicks will get their kicks here, but little else. SICK GIRL is simply a SICK MOVIE.
This review is representative of the Synapse DVD.