Sick Boy (2012)
Review by Jude Felton
So often I read about filmmakers not having the money to achieve all that they want to, when it comes to making their film. I understand that, I really do, but the simple answer is to be realistic in terms of what you want to make. Keep the material within the realms of what is feasible; know your limitations. If I had 50k to make a flick, I would not attempt to make the next Terminator movie. The family Cunningham, Sean C, Ben and Tim T, seem to have a firm handle on this concept, and as a result have come up with a real gem of a movie.
Shot, for what I believe to be 43k, they have created a character driven horror flick that keeps you guessing, builds the tension and then delivers. Director, Tim T, utilizes the films’ limited locations and builds upon this with a solid script, some good performances and a real eye for the structure of a film.
The basic plot of Sick Boy concerns Lucy, a young dental assistant, who takes on a babysitting job in order to make a little extra cash. When she arrives at her first prospective job she ends up getting paid a healthy sum in advance, which surely must be too good to be true. Well, of course it is, this is a bloody horror film, after all.
Her client, played by Debbie Rochon, gives Lucy the lowdown on what to expect, what to do and what not to do, which only teases at what is to come. This is a film for the patient and for those that appreciate the fine art of building the suspense and tension, before delivering the payoff. Admittedly, the cover artwork, which again is another good one from 101 Films, does hint at what is going on, or going to go on, but doesn’t spoil thing.
In all honesty, the hints and clues, some of which you cannot avoid, are there for you to take in. Because of this it only heightens the level of suspense that is created, which is something Ti West is quite excellent at. Not all horror needs to be instant gratification; straight into the carnage so to speak, and this is something the Cunningham’s seem to appreciate, with a good stretch of the early going focusing purely on Lucy.
Hell, I thought Sick Boy was a blast. In the grand scheme of things the end result is not especially original, but it is the execution of the story, the gradual build-up and the genuine concern for Lucy, which all combine to make the last 20 minutes or so, so effective. The last couple of minutes are especially well done, with a really effective last scene.
On the downside, this UK release of Sick Boy comes with no extras. It does come with nice packaging and most importantly the film is bloody good. It also showcases that 101 Films are delivering some really solid films over on their side of the Pond, having recently been impressed with The Wrong House, which they also released in the UK.
Back to the positives though, and there is so much going for Sick Boy, as I mentioned. At first I was expecting just another low-budget ho-hum affair, so to get the film I did was a pleasant surprise. There are two quotes on the front cover; one is more accurate than the other, and that is the Dread Central quote. Sick Boy is a film that relies on a more psychological horror, rather than visceral thrills, even though they do come. It isn’t a film that is ‘filled with blood, gore and mega-violence’. Sure, there is blood and gore, but to say it is filled with them is a little unfair to the film itself, as it is far more than just that.
Sick Boy is a little gem of a film, and I can only hope we see more from the Cunninghams’ in the future, as they seem to have a real grasp of how to create an effective horror film, regardless of budget.
Sick Boy is available on DVD now in the UK from 101 Films.