7 Days of May: Day 3 - Sick Girl
Our week-long celebration of the work of Angela Bettis continues with a look at Sick Girl.
By M.T. Bates
What we have here is my favorite entry into the first season of Masters of Horror and more of an awkward descent into submissiveness than horror. Angela Bettis takes on the role of Ida, an extremely devout, lesbian ornithologist. This is by far Angela’s most awkward character ever, from her profession and lifestyle down to her voice. She really dug deep to bring this character to life, but in this film she has help from her companion, Misty, but more on her in a bit.
Ida is a bit of a hopeless romantic who continues to chase away potential partners because of her obsession with bugs. She brings her work home big-time as her apartment houses many creepy crawling pets. She seems to struggle in social situations and is way more comfortable around her bugs, which makes for an interesting dynamic throughout the film, especially when Misty is introduced, a just-as-awkward fast-talking artist.
In the beginning of the film, Ida is mailed a rather large and aggressive insect that proceeds to break free in her apartment and take up residence in her pillow. Naturally, after only one date, Misty ends up back at Ida’s place and gets unknowingly bitten by said insect, which is when the story really kicks in. The pair's companionship really begins to blossom after it is revealed that Misty is unfazed by Ida's obsession with bugs. This opens Ida up a bit as she begins to act more naturally, or at least as natural as she can act.
It’s not long before the effects of the bug bite become apparent and Misty moves in with Ida. It’s not what you would expect from a bug bite, but these effects manifest over time. From a single bite, the toxins form a chemical bond between bug and host, a wonderful dynamic that escalates quickly, but I’ll let you guys enjoy that part of the flick.
The constant throughout this entire film is Ida’s likability. Her quirky mannerisms and overly peculiar voice shine through and sort of overshadow the other aspects of the film. When put in a corner, Ida shows she has a strong side, but it isn’t a feeling that she is able to hold on to for long. Her willingness to please everyone is a weakness she has a problem overcoming, but she is able to turn on all of these different emotions at a moment’s notice. For a 60-minute film, Ida’s depth grows immensely.
The twist at the end is the real kicker to this film and is one of the more… funky happy endings you’ll ever see in a film. However, even at the end, Ida’s character is still intact and still overly likable on a level that it shouldn’t be once the film hits its climax. Ida Teeter is by far Bettis’ most unusual character and it allowed her to really spread her acting wings. It’s apparent that she had a lot of fun in this role, as she was able to showcase so much in such a short run time.
While Sick Girl is definitely not the strongest entry in the first season of Masters of Horror, as it is simply lacking in horror in almost every way, it still remains my favorite entry and one of the more fun ones. This film doesn’t take itself too seriously and the minimal cast truly allows Angela to do her thing with nothing getting in her way. If you are looking for an entry point into Angela’s catalog, this is a great start.
7 Days of May: Day 2 - Carrie
Our special event continues with a look at the made-for-TV remake of Carrie.