Horror, Zombies

Sick: Survive the Night (2012)

Comments Off on Sick: Survive the Night (2012) 15 January 2016

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Studio:  Hellfire Pictures

Distributed By:  Midnight Releasing

DVD Release:  January 6, 2015

Director: Ryan M. Andrews

Rating:  Not Rated

Reviewed By James M. Dubs

I’ll watch anything…including Sick: Survive the Night.

Needing a zombie movie fix during the down time between seasons of The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead? Looking for anything to quell your desire for rotting hands ripping apart human flesh? I know. I hear you. I feel it too. You think to yourself, I’ve seen all of Romero’s Dead films 100 times each. Even the bad ones! I could watch those again, but I want something new. Something I haven’t seen before.

What’s this? Sick: Survive the Night…  Good title. Cool cover. I’ve seen a lot of really bad undead films, but this one could be good. Right?

Film Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

Sick_1Wrong!

I don’t even need to write a synopsis because if you watch any apocalyptic zombie horror tales then you already know the plot. You have scientists looking for a cure, over-eager militants, people fighting each other, and low budget zombies mucking the whole thing up.

You’ve seen it all before but that’s not the problem. I would watch…  No, strike that.  I have watched zombie films that are the exact same movie and enjoyed them – Night of the Living Dead (1968) vs. Night of the Living Dead (1990), or Dawn of the Dead (1978) vs. Dawn of the Dead (2004). So why doesn’t the formula work for Sick: Survive the Night?

Sick_2Is it because the zombie make-up isn’t up to par with big budget productions? It might help a little, but in truth Dawn of the Dead (1978) has people in bluish gray face paint. Blue-gray paint! Arguably some of the zombies in Sick: Survive the Night look better than the Dawn zombies.

Is it because the production value is poor? Not entirely. Could certain aspects look better? Without a doubt. But overall the film looks like it could be set in the post-apocalypse.

It really all boils down to bad directing. The script isn’t the best, but as a structural narrative the plot hits all the right points at the correct times and even throws in a few little details to make this zombie a little different. The acting sucks, but again I can tell that this is a product of either bad casting, or poor direction. The title cast have the skills to be successful, but it is clear that no one guided their performances. Even the camerawork has the potential of being at least moderately acceptable, except everything feels so stagnant from the framing to the blocking.

Sick_3So why doesn’t the formula work for Sick: Survive the Night? Because the director fails to shape the way we feel about this world and the characters within it.

That’s the trick to the success of Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, The Walking Dead, and the like. It’s not the budget. It’s not the effects. It’s a combination of believing in the world and the atmosphere the film creates and caring about those living in it. You don’t have to see civilization collapse. You don’t need to see a city burn to the ground. However, you have to believe that civilization has collapsed and believe cities are burning to the ground. You also have to care, or at a minimum feel something for the characters. Even if you love to hate one the characters (Does Carl Grimes come to mind?) at least you are invested in the well being or demise of the characters. And that strikes at the root problem with Sick: Survive the Night. All of the set pieces are there for another go at the apocalypse, but you don’t really care.

Video & Audio Rating: ★★½☆☆

Sick_4In the brief behind the scenes supplements, Director Ryan M. Andrews makes a big deal about his aesthetic choice to use different camera lenses for each act of the film. Guess what? Only the most advanced camera person may notice. The rest of you won’t care because the desired psychological intent is to make the world feel like it’s closing in on the characters. Unfortunately it doesn’t work, because you won’t care. A lot of hard work went in for little reward.

The DVD comes with a choice between a stereo or 5.1 surround track. I did not screen this film in my home theater so I can’t vouch for the surround track. The stereo soundtrack is passable. Dialogue and music are all fine and the mix was adequate. The real Achilles heel is the sound effects. Some work, but some betray the illusion. Sometimes a zombie bite might “crunch” a little too aggressively, or the barrel of a shotgun might “crush” a little too sharply. It’s nit-picky stuff that would otherwise be overlooked if the movie worked.

Extras Rating: ★½☆☆☆

The extras aren’t bad. They’re just brief, but they shed considerable light on the production despite the short run time. They almost make me feel bad about trashing the movie because there are a lot of people working very hard on Sick.

Sick_5Behind the Sickness (4:05): This is a very polished electronic press kit that does a good job of selling the idea of Sick: Survive the Night as a good movie. Multiple cast and crew are interviewed and hearing their upbeat enthusiasm about the project almost had me believing that I watched the wrong movie. The entire cast/crew seem very excited about the collaboration of ideas that was brought to the project. Clearly a lot of people worked very, very hard on a shitty, shitty movie.

Behind the Sickness – Director (3:14): Cast and crew discuss working with Ryan M. Andrews as director and each gives their praise of his style and technique. It’s mostly a love piece to the director, but I guess he’s allowed some cuddles from his cast and crew since he won’t receive any cooing from me.

Overall Rating: ★½☆☆☆

Sick_6I feel bad trashing any movie because there are a lot of people that worked very hard on Sick: Survive the Night. I wish them all well in their future endeavors. Unfortunately, Sick just sucks.

Author

- who has written 64 posts on UnRated Film Review Magazine | Movie Reviews, Interviews.

James Dubs is a father and husband who loves his family first and movies a close second. He believes every movie is worth watching once and, as a film fan and critic, believes that even the worst movies offer something in return. His mission is to watch anything and report without pretension. Follow James Dubs on Twitter and send him suggestions on movies you would like reviewed - popular, obscure, independent, etc. He'll watch anything for you.

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