Sick of Myself (Syk Pike): Boston Underground Film Festival
Dir. Kristoffer Borgli (2023)
An unhealthy, competetive relationship is tested when one half of a couple achieves sudden fame and the other must keep up.
CAUTION: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS
Jealousy can be a dangerous thing, a lesson we learn with exceeding clarity in Kristoffer Borgli’s new film Sick of Myself, or Syk Pike in his native tongue. Thomas (Eirik Saether) is a furniture designer who makes his “art” from designer furniture that he has stolen from various showrooms. He is arrogant, completely narcissistic, and just a general asshole in every conceivable way. His girlfriend Signe (Kristine Kujath Thorp) desires to be noticed, both by Thomas and by her group of friends. Unfortunately for Signe, she is not seen by those around her to have the talents that her boyfriend does. When Thomas hits it big by having his furniture featured in a famous Oslo gallery, Signe does everything possible to divert attention to herself, even going so far as to faking an allergy attack to make everything all about her. She happens upon an article online that talks about skin reactions that women are having from taking an experimental Russian drug, and she decides that this horrible disability is just the ticket to attention that she’s been looking for.
Holy hell, this movie should be called Sociopath: The Movie. Signe stops at literally nothing to get attention, and her rich fantasy life, where she becomes a famous model, author, and international singing sensation, is periodically inserted into the film during some of her worst moments. When she eventually gets sick and is hospitalized because of the drugs that she’s taking, she tries desperately to turn the situation to her advantage, taking note of the people who didn’t visit her in the hospital and even going so far as to telling her boyfriend that, if she dies, they’re not allowed at her funeral. As things get worse and worse, she still tries to find her way out, as the audience hopes that somewhere, some way, she’ll possibly learn a lesson from all this eventually.
The acting in Sick of Myself was absolutely stellar, and Kristine Kujath Thorp is someone to watch out for. Her performance as the fundamentally damaged Signe is enthralling, and I literally felt my mouth drop open during some of the more absurd lengths that her character went to. The commentary of the film, which is growing ever more pertinent in today’s narcissistic, social media deluged society, is fascinating, and Signe’s actions seem so out there but are absolutely something that an unfortunately large portion of society wouldn’t think twice about doing in real life. Thorp portrays this mental illness, manifesting physically more often than not, in a truly admirable way, allowing herself to fully embody one of the more fundamentally broken characters in recent memory.
While this isn’t Kristoffer Borgli’s feature debut, it is a phenomenal film, and I will be looking out for pretty much everything he does from now on. Sick of Myself is showing at the Boston Underground Film Festival, and if you live anywhere nearby I highly recommend checking out their lineup because it is to die for. I’m excited to see where this movie gets picked up for distribution, because this is a film that makes you yearn to show it to others. It’s like a Cronenberg mixed with a psychological horror, a beautifully shot film that disgusts you as much as it intrigues you. You really can’t ask for a whole lot more from a horror film than this, and it was a totally pleasant surprise. My only critique? If it’s a comedy, it’s black as hell, because there were exceedingly few scenes that were funny and the film as a whole is very much more disturbing than it is humorous.
Who this movie is for: Body horror fans, Psychological horror lovers, Baron von Munchausen
Bottom line: This one is disturbing simply because of how real it feels, and we’ve all seen people do this exact thing albeit to a much lesser degree. The acting is fantastic, the direction is stellar, and this is one that absolutely should not be missed. I was already pumped to get to check out the films from the Boston Underground Film Festival, and if they’re all going to be like this one? Yes please. Both Kristoffer Borgli and Kristine Kujath Thorp are names to watch out for, and I can’t wait to see their next films