Masters of Horror: Sick Girl
Insects don't bug me. Sorry, I couldn't help myself. Some people are creeped out by bugs and kill them without remorse. Personally, I don't feel that way. Sort of a live and let live type of deal. That's not to say I haven't killed them in the past or won't in the future, I just prefer not to if I can help it. Insects have a long history in science-fiction and horror. Movies like Them!, The Fly, The Swarm and heck, even Mothra. People are generally freaked out by insects do to their alien appearance and sounds so it's no wonder they appear in horror movies. It's not like you can cuddle with a praying mantis.
Masters of Horror: Sick Girl stars Angela Bettis (Toolbox Murders, Scar) as entomologist Ida Teeter and Erin Brown aka softcore adult actress Misty Mundae (The Rage, Dying God) as Misty Falls. Ida is a shy woman who keeps many insects as pets. She has a difficult time finding a relationship due to her love of bugs. Her coworker Max Grubb (yes, really) informs her of a young woman named Misty that sits in the lobby of their building sketching all day. A mysterious package arrives at Ida's apartment containing an insect she has never seen before. Dubbed “Mick”, the insect escapes it's containing and hides in Ida's apartment. Ida's landlady Lana Beasley is concerned about Ida's insects, but Lana's granddaughter Betty enjoys them and likes Ida. The next day, Ida gets the courage to ask Misty out on a date and Misty says yes. The date is silently awkward, but Misty and Ida hit it off and end up back at Ida's apartment. Misty is too drunk to drive, so she stays the night. They become intimate and they are unaware when Mick extends it's proboscis into Misty's ear, injecting her with some sort of fluid. The next morning, Misty reveals that she is the daughter of Professor Malcolm Wolf, Ida's favorite professor from college. They try to search for Mick, but are unsuccessful. Misty begins to feel pain in her ear and undergoes changes in her mood, turning her aggressive. Ida receives an apologetic letter from the same person who sent the insect, informing her about it's behavior and origin. During an argument with Mrs. Beasley, who was offended by the lesbian relationship, Misty starts to transform into an insect and pushes her down the stairs. What will happen to Ida and why was the insect sent to her?
So awkward. So cute.
On paper, Sick Girl might be a decent story, but on the screen it just doesn't work. The movie focuses too much on the cutesy relationship between Ida and Misty and not enough on horror. Watching the two women grow to like each other is nice and makes the audience relate to them better, but it doesn't help further the story along. The movie is in no rush to get to the point, which, in an hour-long show, is never a good idea. We get treated with such wonderful schemes as both women crawling on the floor looking for the bug and Ida having girl talk on the phone with Max. I mean, the show is called Masters of Horror, not Masters of Situational Comedy. When we finally get to the action, it's predictable and not scary. It takes about 3 sentences to explain why this is happening and it doesn't make much sense. Why would this person send the deadly insect, then send a letter apologizing for it. Why not just go and get the freaking bug? That's a real half-assed apology.
Erin Brown is very cute in her role as the shy and awkward Misty. She plays the part very well and is convincing when she becomes more aggressive and angry. Angela Bettis was fine, but her voice was very distracting. Her voice sounded as if Joan Cusack had swallowed marbles filled with molasses. I'm not sure if that's her actual voice or she was just acting and frankly I'd rather not know. Director Lucky McKee (The Woods, The Woman) uses some creative shots, but never achieves a real sense of atmosphere or horror. Most of that can be blamed on the weak material and poor special effects, but I never felt like I was watching a horror movie.
Insects are a good source of horror and science-fiction. They're weird looking, making scary sounds, and can bite or sting. Throw in a little movie magic and you have a bonafide monster. Unfortunately, Sick Girl is a weak, boring story that takes far too long to get to the point and when it finally does, it's not entertaining. There are some plot holes and a lack of action to keep me even mildly entertained. You pretty much know how the story is going to unfold and there are no twists or surprises. Erin Brown is cute and plays both of her parts well. The movie never feels like a horror film or even a science-fiction story. It's not particularly bad, but it's not good. The Masters of Horror series actually has worse episodes, but don't rush to see Sick Girl.