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SYFY WIRE reviews

'SICK': Critics hail bloody and infectious thrills of Kevin Williamson's COVID-era Peacock slasher

SICK is now streaming on Peacock.

By Josh Weiss
SICK (2023)

Peacock's coronavirus slasher flick, SICK, is officially certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes with a near-perfect score of 94 percent. Critics agree that it's probably the first horror movie to come out of the global health crisis that's actually...well, good.

Penned by Scream creator Kevin Williamson and his former assistant Katelyn Crabb, the film (now streaming on Peacock) puts an even deadlier spin on the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic with a tightly-wound tale of a masked killer stalking two young college students (played by Gideon Adlon and Bethlehem Million) while they quarantine at a lake house in the middle of nowhere.

"There's a moment in the movie when something happens and and then it doesn't stop," Williamson tells SYFY WIRE. "They’re on the run. That's fun and it reminds me of how I felt when I was watching Friday the 13th Part 2 for the first time. That last chase scene, that final girl is running for her life and she goes and goes and goes. It’s like the opening of Psycho, it just goes on and on."

RELATED: The pandemic goes slasher in first trailer for 'Scream' writer's Blumhouse horror flick 'SICK' on Peacock

To reveal the motive behind the murderer would be to ruin all the fun of watching SICK, which is just over 80 minutes long. It's a lean and white-knuckled ride effortlessly directed by John Hyams (Alone). Williamson produced the movie alongside Bill Block and Ben Fast. Marc Menchaca (The Outsider) and Jane Adams (Hacks) co-star.

Strap on a face shield and head below to see what critics are saying...

"Williamson and Crabb have jettisoned the old-school sense of judgy sex negativity, where the 'sluts' get slashed, while introducing a different kind of moralism: Here, one’s comportment during pandemic dictates your ultimate chances of survival. It’s best to let audiences discover the reaper’s motives in context; suffice to say that SICK not only factors in our still-evolving COVID-era rules, but also serves as an amusing time capsule for the collective fear that [has] seized us these past three years." -Peter Debruge, Variety

"SICK is competent mid-level horror whose COVID container is tight enough to make the film’s 2020-ness feel fitting rather than dated. I wouldn’t necessarily choose to think about a drinking game based on Dr. Fauci on CNN, as the girls play before all hell breaks loose, but it’s effective in conjuring an ominous feeling. If there are slasher rewards to reap from the real dread of that year, it could be far cornier, cheaper and less efficient than this." -Adrian Horton, The Guardian

"One of the film’s greatest assets is that everything is a potential weapon, including the usual assortment of knives and axes, as well as Checkov’s antlers, accelerant, and electric meat slicer. Everyone gets a moment to shine in the never-ending attack, and the violence – often filmed in unflinching long takes – is mean and vicious. As a result, SICK features innumerable wince-inducing trauma and cheer-worthy blows that will leave audiences breathless." -Joe Lipsett, Bloody Disgusting

"Director John Hyams, who has plenty of horror films and TV shows to his name like Chucky and Black Summer, knows what he is doing and does a good job with a basic slasher story. He knows where to place the killer in the background to make them seem foreboding, he knows how to set up an appropriate jump scare, and also when to fake out the viewer at the right time." -Alyse Wax, Collider

"The rest of SICK directed by genre craftsman John Hyams, is a straightforward chase movie set in a remote, dimly-lit mansion. It takes a moment for the action to start — about 38 minutes — but once it does, this otherwise generic thriller’s flimsy relevance and unusual pacing not only seem more forgivable but maybe even sneakily clever." -Simon Abrams,

"SICK has the distinction of being one of the first, if not the first, slasher flicks to fully take advantage of our collective 2020 experience in watching 'normal' go out the window — to meld the vulnerability we all felt in those early days of the pandemic with the predatory scares of a killer on the loose. It may not be tres wink-nudge, yet the vibe is still: What if Scream, but COVID?" -David Fear, Rolling Stone

"SICK is good. It’s unreasonably good, in fact, because slashers are enjoying a revival, and making a slasher that stands out in the current crop of 'kids get dead' films is hard; and because making films that take place within the numbing reality of COVID living is harder ... There isn’t another 2022 horror production like SICK where not a second is spared on material that doesn’t push the plot along and where we pass every beat white-knuckling any hard surface conveniently in reach. The blunt examination of COVID ideologies is ingenious, though difficult to fully unpack without giving away the third act, but it’s the filmmaking’s ruthlessness that’ll catch in your mind." -Andrew Crump, The Playlist

Co-produced by Miramax and Blumhouse, SICK is now streaming on Peacock.