Sickhouse (2016)

I’ll keep this one short and sweet because, to sum it up: I really loved this movie. And it came out of nowhere, too. Just like Nerve, and Mad Max: Fury Road, and a lot of my other favorites, Sickhouse hit me by surprise. Initially, I watched it for its premise; an entire feature-length movie filmed on some YouTuber’s Snapchat story? I can’t think of any self-respecting millennial who would pass up the chance to see that. Unless, of course, horror’s not your thing, to which I’d say, hey, you do you. But I’m watching Sickhouse.

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This was probably the most creative found footage movie I’ve ever seen; I thought the flow would be awkward, this being a literal Snapchat story, but (especially in the beginning) it really worked. Sure, at times it had those “Why are you filming this?” moments of a typical found footage movie [looks at Paranormal Activity], but this one seems a great deal more realistic simply because…Snapchat is addicting; there are certainly people out there who record every exciting second for their stories, and someone YouTube famous like Andrea Russett would have even more reason to broadcast her camping trip. The best part of the whole concept is that the movie was initially released, scene by scene, on Russett’s own Snapchat story.

Although my favorite part of Sickhouse is its premise, the characters were quite interesting as well (Lukas was my favorite!). For the most part, they all seemed like people who could actually exist. Taylor was the exception, often acting oddly (borderline creepy, according to my sister). However, her strange behavior drove the plot, so I won’t complain about it too much; I’m more curious than anything. Why does she keep filming Andrea’s private moments? When she played guitar, why only those same few notes? Taylor’s full of “whys”, and it makes me crazy, but it adds something to the story, too.

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Sickhouse was just the right amount of scary; there’s a very high level of tension throughout, mostly since a lot of the movie is relaxed and fun, just like your average Snapchat story. Call me out if I start to sound cliched, but even during its calmest moments, there’s always this sense that something dangerous is lurking right around the corner. It’s almost like an updated version of The Blair Witch Project (1999) (Hear that, Lionsgate? We don’t need your sequels!). Does it have the greatest plot? No. Is it trying to? No to that, too. It is an engaging and entertaining movie filmed in a creative way? Absolutely. It may be similar to The Blair Witch Project in that way, but in 2016, it’s the sort of Blair Witch we need.
GRADE: A

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