SICKLE

sickle

SICKLE (2005)

TAGLINE: “Blood Will Flow”

IMDB Rating: 2.5/10

“More terrifying than the Texas Chainsaw Massacre” claims the quote from ‘The Independent Film Guide’ on the cover. A good cover incidentally- a bloody scythe with the face of a screaming girl reflected in the blade. Finally are we going to get a no-nonsense, low budget horror that delivers the scares and gore as promised? Have a guess.

‘Sickle’ actually starts pretty well. In comparison to the others so far anyway. And by that, we mean that the credits are short. That’s the level we’ve sunk to. Though what’s this? The opening scene sees a young couple who are out for some action. And nothing screams youthful sexy time romance more than the filthy floor of a deserted slaughterhouse. But to each, their own. And so they get it on. But the copulating couple are not alone and are slain with vigour by Marty the caretaker.

And as the other characters are introduced, there is another surprise. The cast in this film are actually attractive, a rarity judging by the previous films we’ve endured. There’s a party, including some completely unnecessary lipstick lesbianism that does make you wonder whether perhaps on this one occasion, the director Paul Cagney does understand his audience. Cagney- you are a dirty rat for misleading us.

A group of kids from the party decide go to the slaughterhouse for sh*ts and giggles…so let the hacking commence. Except it doesn’t. The producers have found a really good location- dimly lit, dank corridors, cavernous rooms with sliding metal doors that are perfect for this type of film. So when the kids get separated and realise they are being hunted, surely the director can’t lose?

Oh he’s lost alright. Lost like a tearful toddler at a fairground. The film is utterly and criminally devoid of any tension, despite the promising location. We have to endure 21 minutes of kids wandering around dark corridors shouting, ‘Where are you?’, ‘I can hear you’, ‘Help me’…for 21 minutes. 21 minutes for the sake of f*ck. And in all that time, no one is killed. In fact, until the last 10 minutes, the only deaths we see are the unfortunate kinky couple at the beginning. Where is the slashing in this slasher film? Why is this horror film so horrible? Why is the most terrifying thing in the film the improvised dialogue from the ‘actors’? The most shocking thing about the film is the poor sound quality. Though, in retrospect, thank you sound department.

This is yet another film where you find yourself asking whether the director has ever seen a film in this genre. ‘Sickle’ is inexcusably, unforgivably boring. The one moment when you think the film might pick up is when one of the guys gets stuck half way out of a small window, unable to escape the killer who promptly slices him in half. But in his wisdom, the director chooses to cut away from this rare moment of interest and negate any of the drama. For he is an idiot.

Perhaps the most baffling moment though is when one of the last survivors gets cornered by the caretaking killer. As he bears down on her, having halved her window-bothering boyfriend, this nubile young lovely, in her terror, takes off her skirt. Not as a distraction, not as a weapon but just because apparently she feels that in her last moments on this earth, it would be better to be carved up in just her smalls. It’s only after she kills the killer and escapes to the car of the other survivor that the penny drops- they must have filmed the final scene first. It was only half way through shooting that they realised they had a continuity problem if she mystifyingly appeared at the end of the movie in nothing but her pants. Brilliant says Cagney, just whip your skirt off at the denouement and no-one will notice. Probably assuming, rightly, that most people would have switched off by then anyway.

Our notes claim this to be unwatchable and the worst film yet. Our notes do not lie. Unlike ‘The Independent Film Guide’.

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