A Movie Making Massacre
Some times when you watch a low budget slasher movie you get surprised by some good cinematography or actually scared by some brilliant suspense, sadly "Sickle", or "The Slaughterhouse Massacre" as it is also known, fails to deliver even the slightest sniff of anything which could be classed as decent. Basically "Sickle" really struggles right from the opening scenes and you soon get to realize that when after 15 minutes you have been treated to not one but two sex scenes, which have no relevance to the actual story, that this is going to be a movie which relies on bare naked flesh and sex scenes to try and please the audience.
After getting drunk at a college party a group of students decide to venture out to a derelict slaughter house where legend has it there had been several gruesome and mysterious murders, including that of one time slaughter house employee Marty Sickle (Paul GagnÃ©), who if you say a special rhyme will magically re-appear. But will they get the thrill they seek or will it be a bloody night to remember?
The plot behind "Sickle", or actual lack of it, is just the start of the movies many problems and seems to have pieced together from parts of other slasher movies in an apparent attempt to create a low budget equivalent. Sadly everything is disjointed and in a poor attempt to explain the legend of Marty Sickle with flashbacks to the gruesome murders you become very confused as to when and who did what. The confusion carries on right until the climax of the movie, which rather scarily leaves things open for a sequel, which would be a horror in itself. At times the plot feels as if it has been written on the hop and bits happen for no apparent reason at all, as if the writer has suddenly said "ooh lets do that, it would look good".
Things are not helped by what appears to be the use of just a solitary camera and over zealous editing. Every few seconds, and I do mean few seconds, "Sickle" jumps to something which was not of any real relevance in what to me seemed like an attempt to pad the story out as it didn't really add to the actual story. It was also quite laughable as at times when the same footage was used more than once giving it a truly low budget feel.
Of course there are two elements to any slasher movie which are critical to making it good, those being is it scary and are the effects gruesome enough? Well sadly "Sickle" again fails to score on either of these accounts. Not once did I find myself feeling apprehensive about what was going to happen next and could guess where exactly the next moment of fright was due to the terrible headlining of everything. As for the special effects, well they definitely were not special. To be honest for a slasher movie there were very few moments of true blood dripping action and when they did occur the dreadful cutting was used to try and make things look more spectacular than they really were. To put it bluntly, they were laughable and that is exactly what I was doing at what was supposed to be a true moment of horror when one of the students comes a cropper at the hands of Marty Sickle.
The laughing doesn't stop there and in true slasher tradition the writer, who also happens to be the director and producer, has relied on plenty of naked female flesh, which are not restricted to just the opening sex scenes. Towards the climax we get to see the movie's heroine running, if you can call it that, in just a skirt and bra, but this is topped by her removing her skirt for no apparent reason.
One thing I never expect from low budget slasher movies is top class acting, which is just as well as "Sickle" offers nothing which can be classed as even mediocre acting. I won't highlight any one actor or actress individually as they were all of the same class, WOODEN. From facial expression, movement and delivery of some incredibly clichÃ© dialogue, everything felt terrible and unbelievable.
What this all boils down to and I am sure this comes as no surprise but "Sickle" is terrible on all accounts. Whilst I watched this with an open mind seeing that I knew this was a low budget production it has to be one of the worst low budget movies I have seen. From the terrible plot, poor effects, lack of suspense and wooden acting there is not a single element I can find to praise. Even the use of nudity and sex failed to make any impact other than feeling completely out of place.