[review by JA Kerswell]
Once again proving that the slasher movie is a template for the ages, SISSY is a bittingly acerbic Australian black comedy that takes aim at the vacuous and disingenuous phenomenon of social media influencers. The intriguing premise is what would happen if you throw a pyscho killer into the mix with a group of self-obsessed twenty-somethings? Will they even notice? The humour is merciless and the film is surprisingly gruesome in parts.
|A roadkill incident predicts the demise of one of the guests in the slasher black comedy SISSY.|
Cecilia (Aisha Dee) is an online wellness guru, who has amassed more than 200,000 followers on social media, but despite calling her channel 'Sincerely Cecilia' it's all a lie. Whilst she preaches positivity, when the camera isn't on she shleps around her rubbish strewn flat eating days' old pizza in a depressed state. By chance she bumps into Emma (Hannah Barlow - who is also the co-writer and co-director of the film), her best friend from school who she had lost touch with. At first hesitant, Emma persuades Cecilia to come to her hen party ahead of her wedding to her girlfriend Fran (Lucy Barrett). The old friends seem to reconnect emotionally and Cecilia subsequently agrees to join Emma and her friends at a remote weekend getaway. Initially, Cecilia enjoys the camaraderie, but begins to feel like a spare wheel as she is increasingly sidelined by the tight knit group. Things only get worse when she realises that house where they are staying is owned by Alex (Emily De Margheriti), who she has history with - not least the fact that she reacted violently when Alex took over from her as Emma's best friend when they were kids. Alex also holds a grudge and belittles Cecilia at every point and insists on using Cecilia's childhood nickname of Sissy. As the weekend goes off the rails something has to give - and it isn't long before someone is brained with a giant amethyst crystal ...
|Never has a glitter face mask looked so malevolent.|
SISSY is a misanthropic joy. A man on crutches is pushed off a cliff and bounces down to his death like Homer Simpson. A pretty face is obliterated under a spinning car tyre in one of the film's most startling gore effects. Another face is hammered into a mush in a terrible case of mistaken identity. Whilst another unfortunate is scalped in a jacuzzi. The killer looks almost sympathetic compared to these vacuous vacationers - who would rather watch episodes of reality TV (wittily called 'Paradise Lust') than have real human connections. Everything is run through a social media filter. It's all about play-acting having rich, full, happy lives for their followers than actually having one - in fact reality is almost secondary. The filmmakers take merciless aim at this influencer culture. The killer even decorates a shallow grave so it looks Instagram ready and posts positivity videos to social media during the killing spree! This could all feel mean-spirited, but SISSY is far too playful to be a downer. I may be going to hell for laughing at this blacker-than-black comedy, but I suspect I won't be the only one.
The film looks great. It's beautifully and stylishly shot - with some striking upside down visuals presumably indicating the killer's state-of-mind. The performances are terrific and Dee as Cecilia is nothing short of a revelation as the troubled influencer. She is matched by the other players, who are seemingly having the time their lives lampooning a large part of their own generation.
SISSY ends with a pleasingly ironic note. If anyone ever thought the slasher movie was all but played out need look no further than the new blood spilled in this movie.
female: 4 / male: 1
1) Male pushed to his death
2) Female head squashed by car tyre
3) Female drowned and scalped
4) Female has head caved in
5) Female shot in the head
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