Everyone who knows me quite well usually knows that I have, while not a preference for, a certain morbid curiosity to see the extremes of cinema and to endure whatever is thrown onscreen and at me by those pushing at the limits for whatever reason (be it intelligent comment or simply twisted entertainment). So, when I heard about Sick Girl I had to see it.
The movie is basically summed up by the title. Leslie Andrews plays Izzy, a young girl who looks after her little brother, Kevin (Charlie Trepany), and eagerly awaits the return of her older brother (Chris W. King) from his time in the forces. While she is keeping the home fires burning she also kidnaps and tortures people and generally acts quite sick. Hell, in the first 5 or 10 minutes of this movie we see Izzy board a bus, punch a nun in the face and then pee on her. How can you not warm to someone like that? Oh, okay, I guess that’s maybe just my twisted sense of humour there. Anyway, things get worse and worse for the people that Izzy targets while others in her life (mainly Kevin and Barney, a family friend played by John McGarr) remain oblivious.
Writer-director Eben McGarr certainly doesn’t pull any punches here and there is at least one moment in the movie that had my jaw hitting the floor (quite a feat considering what I have seen, if I may be so bold). But before people start rolling their eyes and bandying about ill-fitting phrases such as “torture porn” I must say that he does manage to present a very effective, quite convincing in its own particular movie reality, character study. Leslie Andrews is a little wooden and amateurish in places but when the scene calls for a sudden, manic outburst she really does make you believe that she is a sick girl. Sadly, John McGarr looks like the kind of big, friendly guy who would be a loyal family friend but he can’t act for toffee (sorry fella). Charlie Trepany does okay as the youngster both Barney and Izzy are looking out for and every other character that Izzy comes into contact with is played by someone who can just manage to get by, even if it’s by a fraction rather than a mile. There’s even a small role for Stephen Geoffreys (known to horror fans for his roles in Fright Night and 976-Evil and known to fans of, ahem, certain types of adult movies for his roles in films I have no knowledge of . . . . . . . hey, I like extreme movies but not those extreme movies).
I guess that most people would find this kind of movie indefensible but it certainly has a lot going for it other than the moments of shocking nastiness. It doesn’t explain the reasons for sick girl becoming as sick as she is but it does show a progression down a horrible, bloody path and there IS a character arc here, even though it’s a character arc you may not choose to ever want to watch.
A very, very good film though you will have to remember that I don’t mean “good” in the comfortable, traditional sense.
DIRECTOR: EBEN MCGARR
CAST:LESLIE ANDREWS, JOHN MCGARR, CHARLIE TREPANEY, STEPHEN GEOFFREYS
RUNTIME: 83 MINS APPROX