HCAF 2022: Sick of Myself (Syk pike)

Directed by: Kristoffer Borgli
Distributed by: Utopia

Written by Raúl Mendoza


For the second year in a row, I had the honor of covering the Houston Cinema Arts Festival here in none other than Space City, Houston, TX. It was a wonderful time to be around members of the press here in the H along with fellow cinema lovers. Last year, I was able to watch some great films that would go on to win some deserved awards during the season. This year’s lineup wasn’t the best but there were definitely some gems in there. One of them was the Norwegian film from director Kristoffer Brogli, “Sick of Myself.” This was the first screening of the film in Houston, Texas since the film has yet to be released even though it was picked up by Utopia last year. With that being said, the body horror satire from Brogli jumped to one of my favorites of the year after the credits rolled.

“Sick of Myself” is written and directed by Kristoffer Borgli (“Drib”) and stars Kristine Kujath Thorp, Elrik Sæther, Fanny Vaager, and Sarah Francesca Brænne. The film was described to us in attendance as “The Worst Person in the World” meets David Cronenberg. When you bring up the name of one of the greatest directors of all time and one of the best films of the last decade it creates a sort of expectation of what you are about to watch. You could go down the path of creating a body horror film or an epic coming-of-age film when you bring up those two examples. “Sick of Myself” decides to take inspiration from both and decides to create a one-of-a-kind experience filled with uncontrollable laughter and disgust.

Borgli’s script is filled with a bit of everything for the audience like witty dialogue and precise dialogue with sharp commentary on narcissism. It’s made very apparent from the beginning that Kujath Thorp’s Signe and Sæther’s Thomas are both not just wrong for each other but both aren’t good people. Their twisted view of love that is fueled by their attention-seeking narcissism is at the forefront and pushes Signe to levels that would cause her harm by taking an illegal Russian prescription drug that is linked to causing a rare skin disease. The motive is built on the back of jealousy for her partner and his rise to success, but Thomas is nowhere near being the perfect human or romantic partner. While this game of discomfort and desperate need for attention continues, Borgli employs a visual language that meshes well with his nimble script. One has to also highlight the work of Benjamin Loeb (“After Yang”) in regard to the cinematography from the composition to the lighting choices.

The disgust comes from the magnificent use of practical effects to showcase the skill of Borgli’s body horror storytelling capabilities. As a rash grows so does our disgust for the relationship and it is usually hard to keep your attention on the story when working with such a distracting subgenre like body horror. Kristoffer Borgli and the rest of the team don’t allow that to stop them as the film always feels balanced. The future is bright for everyone working on this film and hopefully, with Utopia distributing the film in the United States it’ll find its audience. One thing is certain when you watch this you will not stop thinking about it for days to come.

“Sick of Myself” Trailer

“Sick of Myself” was screened as part of the 2022 edition of the Houston Cinema Arts Festival.

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