Thursday, July 9, 2009

In short: The Sick House (2007)

Archeologist Anna (Gina Philips), has found what's left of a London orphanage from the time of the Great Plague below a dilapidated children's hospital that is going to be demolished soon.

She hopes to find evidence for something called "The Cult of the Black Priest" the film never really bothers to explain any deeper. It had something to do with a malevolent plague doctor, but not even the scriptwriters know what. Some of the objects Anna digs out are unfortunately showing traces of the plague bacillus, so the authorities forbid a continuation of her work and order the hospital to be demolished immediately.

Anna, being a movie scientist and all, of course breaks into the building. Her poking about in the dark somehow wakes up the ghost of the evil plague doctor and his child victims. Since one woman alone wouldn't be enough victim to terrorize, a group of juvenile delinquents (well, they're supposed to be chavs, I think) also stumbles into the building.

The rest of the film mostly consists of people running around in the dark and screaming at each other and the ghosts or whatever they are supposed to be teleporting in and doing evil ghosty stuff.

I hope you like the colour green, because The Sick House's director Curtis Radclyff just loves it. He loves it so much that it is the only colour you'll see during most of the movie. It's probably supposed to define the film's mood, but I'm not too sure if "monochrome and annoying" is really a mood a film should strive for.

The colour green is not the film's only visual and stylistic problem, unless you're into the dreaded trinity of shaky cam, jump cut and focus flicker. And boy, does Radclyff overuse them, until the only explanation for it is a conscious decision to drive the film's viewers to seizures. Well, at least it's a reaction, right?

But even the total visual breakdown isn't the film's biggest problem. That is an honor that goes to the total lack of anything one (and "one" would even include Bruno Mattei) could call a script, or a concept or a single frigging clue that you need just little more than a creepy mask to make a movie.

Now, as you know I am not a stickler for logic, or a strong plot, or (Cthulhu help!) "realism", but a film that entirely consists of some undefined green people running through a green building screaming at each other (because the plague works like rabies, or something) while nothing of interest happens drives the idea of a plotless movie a little too far.

In other words: avoid like the plague (yeah, I went there).


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