Sunday, January 27, 2013

This Sick Boy Needed to Escape His Room Much Earlier: A Movie Review

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*a screener of this film was provided by director Tim. T. Cunningham.

**there are spoilers here.

Director: Tim T. Cunningham.

Cast: Skye McCole Bartusiak, Marc Donato, and Debbie Rochon.

This reviewer has little doubt that director Tim T. Cunningham will no longer be a fan of 28DLA after reading this review. Sick Boy is Cunningham's indie production that was developed for under $50K, over the course of thirteen days. The loss of a set late in the shooting schedule prevented some reshooting and the development of some scenes. So, Sick Boy sometimes comes across as lackluster. The pacing has no sense of timing or impetus to move forward. Meanwhile, the protagonist, Lucy, is underdeveloped and actress Skye McCole Bartusiak is unable to carry the material to its full potential. Sick Boy is a disappointing outing, which only finds itself when it is too late and the final credits are set to roll.

The story is fairly straightforward. Lucy has been offered a babysitting job through a friend. The job pays her $400 a night and all that she has to do is call the mother, if there is a problem. Instead, Lucy goes snooping around the house, swims, drinks the boss' wine or falls asleep while on the job. Lucy is not a heroic character by any means. Meanwhile, the greyish boy downstairs is scrambling to get out of his locked room. Eventually the boy does escape, with help from the meddling babysitter. Let the zombie madness begin!

This movie let down this watcher for so many reasons. The first thirty minutes, which is often an opportunity to build tension, is full of inane scenes. Lucy goes through the fridge several times. She mopes about the house and this reviewer was hoping that something would happen, anything! Later, Lucy offers a one person dance off that is simply awkward and pointless. This film could easily have been cut to fourty minutes or less and the plot points would still be held within the film. As well, the acting from Bartusiak is uninspiring. She seems unable to make scenes seem interesting. The best she can offer is a pout or a look of disdain. Also, the central actress is outclassed when Debbie Rochon appears. It is interesting to note the difference between the two styles of acting. One actress (Rochon) is able to deliver emotion, while the other (Bartusiak) is unable to provide any depth to her character at all. Late in the film, the action finally picks up, but this horror fan's interest was already lost at the thirty minute mark.

Bartusiak's character, Lucy, is also a flat character. She has a very small character arc, which involves the loss of her fiancee (Marc Donato). This arc or event does not create enough complexity for Lucy and this character is simply uncompelling. Her fiancee seems to pick on her biggest faults. She is a self-sabotager and this character has few redeeming qualities to draw viewers in. This reviewer was hoping that she would get lunched by the end of Act 1. However, this wish goes unfulfilled and Lucy is acting unbelievably and foolishly late in the picture.

Sick Boy turns into a zombie film in its dying moments, but few horror fans will have stayed with the film to its conclusion. Sick Boy utilizes no tension and very little mystery early in its runtime and one character is too unlikable to hold the attention. Fans of film are urged to seek out other titles as director Cunningham further develops his writing and directing style through future pictures. Sick Boy is a let down and this title is only avoiding a 28DLA Worst of 2013 nomination because the director was courageous enough to send this site a screener for review. Fans can skip this title and know that they have missed very little, especially exciting thrills.

Overall: 5 out of 10 (the writing here did not develop a likeable protagonist, the acting by Bartusiak made liking Lucy impossible, there is little to no action nor conflict through the film's initial two acts, disappointing).

*the soundtrack was developed per gratis by composer Matt Linder.

The film's fan page is here:

Sick Boy on Facebook

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