The Movie Waffler SXSW 2022 Review - SISSY | The Movie Waffler

Sponsor

SXSW 2022 Review - SISSY

sissy review
An encounter with a childhood friend leads to a weekend of murder for a troubled woman.

Review by Eric Hillis

Directed by: Hannah Barlow, Kane Senes

Starring: Aisha Dee, Hannah Barlow, Emily De Margheriti, Daniel Monks, Yerin Ha, Lucy Barrett, Shaun Martindale, Amelia Lule, April Blasdall, Camille Cumpston

sissy poster

Writer/directors Hannah Barlow and Kane Senes open their Ozploitation social media satire Sissy with an almost identical scene to that which recently opened Steven Soderbergh's Kimi. An "influencer" delivers a video message to their adoring followers in front of an inspiring pink wall. But once the video is finished, said influencer, Cecilia (Aisha Dee), moves away from her set into the drab reality of her life, walking around her dimly lit apartment in comfy pyjamas.

sissy review

On a trip to the supermarket, Cecilia gets a reminder of her past, bumping into her childhood BFF Emma (Barlow), who invites Cecilia (whom she still calls "Sissy", much to Cecilia's annoyance) to her bachelorette party. Cecilia might have 200,000 Instagram followers, but in reality she's friendless, and so she's happy to accept. Through flashbacks we see how the young Emma and Sissy made a pact that they would grow old together, but somewhere along the line the pair separated.


The reasons for their separation become clear when Sissy and Emma - joined by the latter's American fiancĂ©e Fran (Lucy Barrett) and their vacuous friends Tracey (Yerin Ha) and Jamie (Daniel Monks) – arrive at their destination, a remote villa owned by the family of Alex (Emily De Margheriti). Flashbacks imply that Alex was Sissy's childhood tormentor, but the truth is revealed to be somewhat more complex.

sissy review

If a movie opens with a bunch of people headed for a getaway driving past a piece of roadkill, you know things are going to go south. If they run over an animal on the way to their destination, they're really screwed. Barlow and Senes make good on both these tropes, which they knowingly insert early on. Several horror movies have used the idea of a character forced to put an animal out of its misery to foreshadow violence to come, but few call back to it in quite the way Sissy does in one of its more gruesome moments.


Sissy may employ a lot of tired tropes, but it also has fun playing with them. In the title character we get the archetypal "final girl", the smart but socially awkward young woman surrounded by airheads who don't really understand her. The subversion here is that the final girl is also the villain, though after seeing Sissy subjected to a cruel face to face version of an online pile-on at the hands of Alex and her friends, you may well view her as something of an anti-hero.

sissy review

At this point, making fun of the vacuous nature of social media has been done to death, and I could happily live without hearing another joke about someone getting "cancelled." While this element of Sissy doesn't say anything new, it's Dee's performance that gives it some depth. She flits from bubbly and enthused to scared and lonely to outright psychotic in convincing fashion. The movie doesn't condone the violent rampage she undertakes, but her victims are drawn so broadly as bitchy mean girls that it's impossible not to have fun seeing them dispatched in the sort of violent fashion we've come to expect from the no holds barred world of Ozploitation.



2022 movie reviews