We all have a desire to feel loved, accepted, and wanted. We often find these needs met via family and romantic partners, but friendships play an important role in it as well, particularly as children. Making friends is a quintessential component of childhood social development. So losing that and feeling excluded can drive people down dark paths. Shudder’s latest original film Sissy takes this idea and runs with it into comedically dark slasher territory.
Best Friends Forever
Opening with old home videos of them as children, we meet Emma and Cecilia “Sissy” and they seem inseparable. Now in the present day, they haven’t seen each other in over a decade and we’re reintroduced to Cecilia (Aisha Dee) who is now an influencer of sorts, promoting self help and care, along with mental health awareness.
She runs into Emma (Hannah Barlow, who also co-wrote and co-directed the film) at a store and they strike up a conversation. Emma tells Cecilia that she’s getting married and proceeds to invite her to the engagement party as well as the hen weekend (AKA bachelorette party as it’s called in the US).
However, things get awkward when Emma’s maid of honor Alex (Emily De Margheriti) finds out on the day off that Cecilia is there. The two still have some bad blood, and while Cecilia makes several attempts to move past it, Alex is still clearly upset and proceeds to provoke Cecilia at every turn, even repeatedly calling her “Sissy”, a nickname she doesn’t like and used to be bullied with.
While Alex is certainly the clear instigator, we find out more about the past and that she does have every reason to not want Cecilia to be there. Between flashbacks to their childhood and Alex’s continued provocation of Cecilia, she begins to reveal herself to be far more obsessive and possessive than we previously realized.
Emma means the world to Cecilia and all she wants is that friendship back they had as children. So as she’s pushed further and further to the edge, Cecilia shifts this movie into full slasher territory and it doesn’t disappoint.
The kills themselves have a fun variety and are shot in a certain stylized manner. Plus, there’s a definite sense of humor and absurdity to how they play out. The movie knows exactly what it’s doing and never tries to take itself too seriously. The only real issue with the slasher portion of the film is that once the kills start, they seem to occur in very quick succession and it would have been fun to see them drawn out just a bit more for suspense.
Living One’s Best Life
Ultimately, you end up feeling for Cecilia and maybe even siding with her (at certain times). Much like Annie Wilkes in Misery or Chip Douglas in The Cable Guy, we see how desperately lonely Cecilia is and while we certainly don’t justify her actions, we understand the feelings behind them.
It’s all sold by a great lead performance by Aisha Dee, who manages to balance between being frightening and insane, but simultaneously vulnerable and sympathetic. She clearly went into self-help and influencing as a way to fill that void in her life and even when she does terrible things, you get the sense she didn’t want it to have to go that far.
Sissy remains an entertaining slasher with creative kills, fun comedic elements, and visually interesting shooting style. Check it out on Shudder!
What did you think of Sissy? Let us know in the comments!