Anyone who has known me for a while can tell you at least two things about me: 1) that my 8th-grade school dance DJing skills were unparalleled (middle schoolers could not cope with the mad- MAD I TELLS YA- awesome power combo of The Violent Femmes, Stacey Q, and Loudness), and 2) I dig abandoned buildings.
While the latter factoid actually has some bearing on horror movies, I'm going to now post the video for Loudness's "Crazy Night" because it's infinitely more entertaining- and rockin', natch- than the movie I've got to review.
Now then, about The Sick House (coming to a DVD shelf near you on March 18). Gina Philips (Jeepers Creepers) is Anna, an archaeologist in London excavating a 17th century plague hospital. Yes, she's simply "Anna"- you know, like Cher or Fabio or JohnJacobJingleheimerSchmidt. At any rate, when some plague...spores or something or other are found at the site, it's deemed sort of deadly and hazardous and it's sealed off. Anna, however, is all, like, "Pssht, nuh uh! I ain't not diggin'!" and reenters the toxic site one dark and not-at-all stormy night before the hospital is demolished for good.
Little does she know, the Bubonic fucking Plague isn't the worst thing Anna will unleash that night! See, earlier we learned all about plague doctors and the "Cult of the Black Priest". These nasty dudes would actually sacrifice the plague-y children they were supposed to be saving all in a mad bid for...uh, power, I guess. Their motives are never really explained. But no matter! Anna falls into the remains of an orphanage which is located under the plague hospital, which is located under a regular abandoned hospital...uh, I guess. Sorry, I was completely confused as to where these places were in relation to each during the entire course of the film.
But no matter! Some drunken louts end up in the hospital as well, they contract the plague, they don't contract the plague, they run from the Plague Doctor, chalk drawings on the walls can survive for over 300 years, the building somehow catches on fire, and it all ends with a twist (OF FUCKING COURSE) that prompted this discussion as the credits began:
"That made no sense. Like, zero."
"Fuck that shit."
I really wanted to like The Sick House. The subject matter was right up my alley. The Plague Doctors, when I could see them, were sufficiently creepy. The acting was better than can be expected from a straight-to-DVD effort- in particular I'd say that Gina Philips did a great job with what little she was given in terms of the script. There's some cringe-inducing gore, but again- it was so dark that it wasn't as effective as it should have been.
Given my love of old abandoned buildings, I would have liked The Sick House, even despite the 'tardo twist, if I could have seen what the fuck was going on for 98% of the film. Notice there are no screen caps with this review? That's because the pics would be nothing but a big square of dark blue and black and a barely-discernable shape. If it wasn't the darkness, then it was the jump cuts. I swear, I spent so much time trying to make out the on-screen happenings ("Wait, who was...did he just- where--oh, I guess he fell down the stairs?") that it actually started to make me angry. I don't want to be angry while I'm watching a movie. Actually, I don't ever want to be angry. I want to live in a world of happiness and kittens and lollipops where I can see people oozing grossness from their Bubonic Plague-induced sores while they're being chased by an evil doctor wearing a scary bird mask whose only thought is kill kill kill. That's what I want. Is that so much to ask?