A few days ago a reviewed another film from X Posse Productions, Scary Tales: Last Stop, and I was a little bit on the fence about it although it was pretty decent. When I previewed this title, Sickle, I was worried that I’d be biased towards it in a good way because it’s more my style and appeals to my personal tastes. All things considered, Sickle is a completely different breed of film than Scary Tales: Last Stop and you’ll have to read my review below to find out if that’s a good or bad thing.
Sickle is written and directed by Geno McGahee with Forris Day Jr.. Cast members include Logan Lopez, Brent Northup, Crystal Aya, Forris Day Jr., Scott C. Day, Renee Day, Sarah Surprenant, Ray Surprenant, Dave Sauriol and Richard Smith.
“Twelve year old Michael Hart is convicted of the murder of a babysitter, despite his claims that a monster did it. Upon his release, the monster returns and the bodies are piling up. Is it the grim reaper? Is it the Mothman? Whatever it is, it’s a killing force and Michael must prove its existence to clear his name but must also face the darker side of humanity. What is SICKLE and can it be killed? Michael Hart is about to find out.” – IMDB
In the beginning I was a little naïve in assuming that Sickle was going to be a slasher flick. While there is a fair share of slashes, both by claw and sickle, this doesn’t fall under the category of a slasher flick that features a killer that stalks their victims. More-so, Sickle is a supernatural-horror film with a more in depth plot than most titles its subgenre. It’s almost like a fleshed out, more dramatic feature length episode of “Ghost Hunters” or “Paranormal State.” Luckily, Geno McGahee chose to handle the subject material as a narrative film instead of the current trend of found footage and I’m thankful for that. I don’t think the movie does a good job at developing the antagonist as a monster, but as one bad ass ghost? It’s pretty close.
One of my critiques from my previous X Posse Productions review was that the acting was either average or far below it. I’m happy to say that this go around the acting was much, much better. Not great, I can’t name a single stand out performance, but it was a peg or two higher in quality than that of the last film I saw. My second complaint from my last review for X Posse Productions was the lack of gore or lackluster gore. Same as with the acting, the special effects are a peg or two higher, too. But no more CGI, X Posse! Don’t think I didn’t notice! My point of using this paragraph to compare Scary Tales: Last Stop to Sickle is to point out when things are going right. Experimentation with new filmmaking techniques is to be applauded and expected but, Geno, whatever you started with Sickle – it worked. Stick with that.
Now, I know this is a positive review for the most part, but I do need to say that Sickle still has some production flaws. A couple rough edits, cringe-worthy fight choreography, a few out of focus shots… Honestly, when you’re working with a small budget this is to be expected, so I can’t condemn it for the flaws. What bothers me the most is that Sickle is slow yet it’s almost there, just below the mark where I think it would be considered great by myself and others in the indie horror scene. So, so close and so, so frustrating at the same time. Good enough for random screenings and what-not but I’m unsure if people would spend $10+ on it as a DVD. Maybe good enough for a stream and awesome cover art, though.
Final Score: 6 out of 10