Judge Daryl Loomis doesn't know whether it's the tattoos or the murder, but he falls for women like Izzy all the time.
It's okay to pick on things smaller than you, provided you also take on things bigger than you. Then, size is irrelevant.
Not to be confused with the Masters of Horror entry of the same title, Sick Girl is a film that lives up to its name. A nasty little piece of independent horror with a great performance from the title character, this is one the gore hounds will want to check out.
Facts of the Case
Times have been rough for Izzy (Leslie Andrews) lately. Her parents are dead and her brother, the breadwinner, has gone to Iraq and left her and her little brother Kevin (Charlie Trepany) to make do however they're able. Izzy does what she can, but all her troubles are stressing her out. What's a girl to do? For Izzy, a little revenge, a little torture, and a little murder just might do the trick. Just don't go into the barn.
The biggest virtue of Sick Girl is that writer/director Eben McGarr, in his first feature film, accomplishes exactly what he sets out to do. The film isn't overly ambitious; the plot is simple, the characters are few, and there is only one basic location, allowing much more time for beatings and torture while avoiding annoying character development and story twists that are completely unnecessary in films like this. Without all the violence, this could have easily played as a character study of a poor, small town family. This family, however, is led by one of the most disturbed, yet strangely appealing, killers in recent memory.
Leslie Andrews is truly excellent in the title role. A believable sociopath, Izzy goes from exceedingly sweet and playful one moment to maniacally violent the next; Andrews pulls it off beautifully. She puts her whole body into the role. Her facial expressions change on a dime to both horrifying and comedic effect and the extremities she goes to in order to make her point are sometimes staggering.
Horror fans will come for the splatter, and they'll get it, but they might not leave quite the same. Sick Girl may not be the hardest film to watch in my life (that mantle still rests firmly on the head of Eric Stanze's Scrapbook), but it does cross lines that few are willing to approach. I won't spoil the surprise for anybody interested and I don't want to raise people's expectations too high. Suffice it to say, however, that when McGarr takes his characters to their logical extremes, he pulls no punches and, just as you think he won't go that far, he takes it even farther. He doesn't give you his A-material all at once, however. He builds it slowly, getting increasingly more violent and crazier until it crosses into its most disturbing territory.
Synapse has always done well with independent horror and their release of Sick Girl is no exception. For a film of its scale and budget, you couldn't ask for more from this disc. The image sometimes looks a little flat, but it was shot on the cheap and it looks as good as could be expected. The colors are strong and there are no problems with the transfer. The sound is clear and bright, but there's nothing special here. For extras, we have a short film with Leslie Andrews as she creates her "Death by…" photo series, in which she chronicles herself dying in various elaborate ways and places. The images are good and I hope she gets more attention for her quality work. Andrews also appears once again as Izzy in a PSA demanding audiences to stay quiet during the film. I suggest you listen to Izzy. Finally, we have a series of bloopers, which is as amusing as bloopers generally are, and an interview with Stephen Geoffreys (Fright Night), who has a cameo role in the film. This is much better treatment that films at this level generally get, but Sick Girl deserves it.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
Seriously, though, Sick Girl goes pretty far. I wouldn't watch this with the kiddies…unless your kids are bullies, I suppose. In which case, they might learn a valuable lesson.
Perhaps I make Sick Girl seem rougher than it actually is. The film is quite funny at times, though it does cross some lines that will offend a certain portion of the population, though these folks wouldn't look twice at it anyway. Eben McGarr brings a great spirit to the film and Leslie Andrews is outstanding. The film is worth watching on her presence alone.
Guilty of many things, but lack of quality is not one of them.
Give us your feedback!
What's "fair"? Whether positive or negative, our reviews should be unbiased, informative, and critique the material on its own merits.
Scales of Justice
Review content copyright © 2009 Daryl Loomis; Site design and review layout copyright © 2015 Verdict Partners LLC. All rights reserved.