After not seeing her childhood best friend for over a decade, successful influencer and mental health advocate, Cecilia, bumps into her former BFF at the local pharmacy. The pair spend a moment getting reacquainted, before Emma invites Cecilia to a weekend getaway for a hen party.
Although she’s not sure this is a good idea, Cecilia accepts and soon sets off with Emma, and a group of her friends. However, those friends are pretty awful and upon arrival at their destination, Cecilia discovers that old school bully, Alex, is also in attendance.
What could have been a weekend of fun quickly descends into a nightmare, and this is before any celebrations take place. And what follows doesn’t get any better, as past traumas are brought to the surface and old wounds are opened.
All of these issues become a bit too much for Cecilia and she soon finds herself pushed to breaking point. It is here where the true horror begins and the hen party transforms from a weekend of decadence into a fully-fledged crime scene.
Written and directed by Hannah Barlow and Kane Senes, Sissy is an Australian psychological slasher movie, with dashes of black comedy. The film stars Aisha Dee, Hannah Barlow, and Emily De Margheriti and has recently been added to Shudder.
The picture follows the story of Cecilia and looks at the bullying and the mental torture she faced as a child, and how this has shaped her life moving forward. It then uses this as a catalyst for horror, with Cecilia finding herself reliving the past, and turning into someone she doesn’t want to be.
In terms of its story and its use of black comedy, there’s a fair bit to like in Sissy and it is certainly a film with a lot of potential. However, this isn’t quite the film it really could be, and is hampered considerably by bad pacing and slow execution.
Sissy takes far too long to get going (way, waaaay too long in fact), and those who get restless quite easily are unlikely to make it to any of the good stuff. If you have a habit of walking away from movies if they don’t grab you within an acceptable timeframe, I doubt you’ll stick with Sissy.
This is a bit of a shame, as there are clearly some good ideas in this movie and once the horror starts to kick-in, the film begins to shine. It also offers up a couple of rather gross death scenes, not for the squeamish, including one brutal sequence towards the end of the picture.
And when the deaths occur, Sissy is great, and the same can be said for when the film is making a statement about trauma and the impact of PTSD. The film also benefits from looking good too, with some strong visuals and plenty of bursts of colour in the setting, the wardrobe, and the visual effects.
However, all of this gold feels like a bit of a slog to mine. Despite plenty of positives, I found it difficult to maintain my interest for long enough, even though Sissy repeatedly attempted to rope me back in.
If you can hang in there long enough, Sissy offers plenty of horror, some strong ideas, and moments of satire. This is a film that has been put together with passion and commitment, and with a desire to present a slightly new angle on the slasher genre.
But despite some strong moments, I was never completely won over by the film, and I find it difficult to entirely recommend Sissy. I can recommend parts of it, but not the whole.
There’s something here, that is without question, and I’d be interested to see what writers/directors Hannah Barlow and Kane Senes do next. But Sissy just doesn’t work for me – or at least, it doesn’t work enough for me – so, it’s interesting, but flawed.