FILM GUTTER Come on in, the water's sickening... Sick Girl (2007) Dir. Eben McGarr, USA, 83 mins
Welcome back to Film Gutter everyone, and today it's another one of those movies that I knew next to nothing about before venturing into. Sometimes this yields great results and other times it can be an unmitigated disaster. However a title like Sick Girl immediately spoke to me, so I thought this one was worth a shot. So let's dive in, shall we?
Sick Girl follows the story of Izzy, a deeply disturbed teenage girl with homicidal and torturous tendencies. We pick up with her in the middle of nowhere before she gets picked up by a bus, where she proceeds within the first five minutes to wrestle a nun to the floor before taking a piss on her. That's quite an opening statement, and one that warned me we could just be neck-deep in the gutter right here. But that's not enough, oh no, Izzy also goes on to kill two guys that try to pick her up by the roadside and shoots up the bus, leaving only the one survivor.
Leslie Edwards, who portrays Izzy, is a real standout here – she comes across as so mild-mannered, soft-spoken and innocent but behind that exterior lies a cold-blooded psychopath. Throw into that an incestuous love for her older brother and you have quite the explosive combination. And rest assured, when the alarmingly calm Izzy loses it she really loses it. We're talking about a young lady who forces a young bully to kill two of his friends, and that's not to mention some of the atrocities she commits in the barn. There's one scene in particular I might never manage to bleach from my memory, but I suppose there's so much gore in there already a bit more won't hurt...
There's a certain implication here that the strains on a young girl trying to run a household, take care of a younger brother and deal with all the stresses involved have caused her to snap. But the more I watched, the more I felt this just couldn't be the case – there were hints that the 'sickness' goes back further than that. So it's hard to really draw much of a message from this one – if there is a moral it feels pretty confused here.
With all that said, this one did draw me in because there was something refreshing and different here. Whether the more shocking content was physical or psychological, there was a kind of freshness about this that kept me guessing. Trying to predict the behaviour of our lead – so kind and caring one minute, so terrifying the next – made for a really interesting ride. It's not the best we've seen, or the most disturbing we've seen, but it's well worth a watch if you consider yourself a connoisseur of the extreme horror scene.
RATING: 7/10. I'll be honest, I actually really enjoyed this movie. Not because it was the most brilliantly shot, or best acted, or emotionally moving. There's just something that I couldn't help liking here – there was a kind of invention and nastiness that I hadn't seen anywhere else before. Most of it is carried by Edwards' portrayal of Lizzie, which is the best performance here by a way. The story plays out ostensibly about a family trying to survive without any real adults around – only their uncle who visits regularly – but with a number of dark and malevolent twists. Overall it's a less-than-sickening 7/10.