The Australian thriller “Sissy” is a mean girl horror story about the power of kindness and the infatuation with being accepted among your peers. It’s a wild, violent ride from co-writers and co-directors Hannah Barlow and Kane Senes (Barlow also acts in the film). This darkly satirical tale takes a look at female friendship and the toxicity that can creep its way in. In this case, jealousy and exclusion turns deadly.
Sissy (Aisha Dee) and Emma (Hannah Barlow) were childhood besties who made plans to grow old together. It seemed nothing would ever destroy their bond until Alex (Emily De Margheriti) inserted herself into the mix, mercilessly taunting Sissy on the playground with nasty episodes of bullying.
Emma and Sissy lost touch after that, until a chance encounter in a drugstore on the eve of Emma’s bachelorette party. She invites her old friend to come for the weekend and join her and her friends at a remote house in the countryside. Sissy accepts, and things go downhill quickly when she arrives and learns that Alex is also there.
Barlow and Senes set up the story to play as a mystery where you’ll question who the villain is at first. Is it the angry Alex or the supposedly sweet Sissy? The two women are obviously at odds with each other, as past trauma plagues them both. Each woman deals with their emotional (and physical) injuries in different ways. Alex seems like a fighter, while Sissy seeks adoration and likes as a social media influencer and meditation exercises. There’s plenty of biting commentary on life in the social media age, which makes this film stand out from the rest.
The film has an unnecessarily long and slow set-up but once the story kicks into high gear, it’s a nonstop gorefest that results in a big payoff. Horror fans will not be disappointed if they stick with it. “Sissy” is sometimes predictable but also an original, thoughtful, female-centered spin on the genre.
By: Louisa Moore