Sick Girl (2007): United States – directed by Eben McGarr
Not rated by the MPAA – contains strong language, strong violent content and gore, some sexual content
Note: This review touches on some of the less-pleasant aspects of the film, which you might want to avoid if you are a sensitive reader
Sick Girl is the first feature by Eben McGarr, and the first starring role in a feature for its titular actor, Leslie Andrews. Andrews plays Izzy, a girl growing up in a small town in California. She’s tasked herself with protecting her younger brother, since her older brother became a Marine and was shipped out. Unfortunately for almost everyone in the movie, Izzy has some problems. Fortunately for those viewers interested in low budget gore films, Izzy has ways to vent her problems on the world.
We start out with a dirty Izzy getting picked up by a school bus. There are some Catholic schools girls and a Sister on the bus. It’s evident that Izzy doesn’t fit in particularly well, both receiving and giving odd looks to the other girls on the bus. Driving behind the bus is the boyfriend of one of the girls, anxiously searching for the thong that the girl has taken off on the bus and dropped out the window. The film starts off with a bang as Izzy beats up the nun, pees on her face, attacks the other girls and the boyfriend and his passenger, leaving most of them dead. Two, though, she keeps hanging around in her barn.
Izzy’s got other problems, too. Her older brother, for whom she had the hots (and I mean she tried to make out with him in a “yes, this is definitely awkward” way), is off at war. Her younger brother Kevin is a bit pudgy and bullied at school. A nice friend of the family’s helps out, teaching Kevin how to fight out of self-defense. Izzy takes offense, wishing she could teach him what her older brother taught her about fighting. Pretty soon, though, Izzy’s after the bullies, and then a third person is added to her barn collection. Eventually, of course, this barnful of people starts to unravel, but not until the bloody end.
The movie starts off in a promising fashion. However, after the initial violence we are treated to extended scenes of family drama. Unfortunately, this is not where the film excels. The writing, acting, and even camera angles don’t enable the film to rise out of its low-budget origins. There are times when those involved are effective, but most of those times involve little talking. During the middle part of the film it slows down, though there are a couple of violent and disturbing moments. Then, during the last ten minutes, the film, without any warning, goes nuts. It explodes with blood and body parts and scenes that probably shouldn’t be mentioned in a review. There are a couple additional shocking moments, too, which I have not seen in any other shock films.
The film doesn’t look bad, for the most part. In fact, judging by the quality of the DVD from Synapse Films, you might be surprised to learn it’s a low-budget affair. It’s primarily some of the scenes with dialogue that give it away, with awkward camera angles and lighting. You can also tell that most of the actors don’t have much experience (besides Stephen Geoffreys of Fright Night fame), but everyone needs to start somewhere.
I enjoyed the soundtrack, which draws heavily from films like Dawn of the Dead with a low pounding and pulsing beat. The main draw will be the title and the violence and/or sex it promises. While the sex/nudity is almost entirely lacking, gore fans won’t be disappointed. The blood has a dark look to it, lending itself to some realism. There are plenty of shocking and disgusting and bloody moments to make any fan of shock cinema happy, even though the production as a whole is rather poor.