This review needs to be prefaced but the fact that I'm not a horror fan. Jump scares, creature features and idiot victims are not my jam. However, originality and well-executed suspense, I can totally get onboard with - which is why I enjoyed, but didn't love 'Sissy'. Allow me to explain.
Cecilia, AKA @SincerelyCecilia (Aisha Dee, 'The Bold Type'), is a mindfulness and mental health advocate influencer with 200,000 loyal followers. But like all influencers, she doesn't exactly practice what she preaches. Finding soul validation from Likes and positive Comments, mere inches from her perfectly curated video space lies her real life: dishes piled high in the sink, cold pizza in the fridge she gorges on without hesitation, and trash reality TV to help stave away her lonely, friendless nights. While shopping, Cecilia runs into her childhood BFF Emma (Hanna Barlow, also serving as co-director and co-writer). The two gal pals put the B in BFF back in the day and, as we're slowly given glimpses of, we learn the second F was not to be. But after a 15-year absence, it seems no time has past at all, and Emma invites Sissy nee Cecilia to her engagement party followed by her hens weekend. It's here at the weekend getaway that old secrets and traumas don't stay buried long when the hostess of the festivities is none other than Cecilia's childhood nemesis and bully Alex (Emily De Margheriti) and it seems there's no love lost there. "Triggered", the bodies start to pile up - but who's the real victim here, and who's the real evil-doer?
Even more than we love influencers, we love dragging them down (hellooooo Tall Poppy Syndrome!), and 'Sissy' delivers alongside some pretty awesome yet comical - and comically bad gory - set pieces. Unfortunately, 'Sissy' never really settles on an agenda, whether it be satire, gore or suspense, but it's a lot of fun and if you just slide back and sink yourself into that idea alone, it's a really good time. Aisha is great, I just wished she'd turned up the psycho factor a notch and really play with it, but again, that could just come down to direction. The small but impactful support cast are all fun and serve their purpose, right down to the inept cops who deliver the biggest laugh of the night with simply as "Phone!" as the station phone starts to ring. This deeply Australian tradition gave me all the feels.
Aisha is great, I just wished she'd turned up the psycho factor a notch and really play with it, but again, that could just come down to direction.
A digression... Please allow me to nit-pick here as it's what I do best - Aisha Dee and Lucy Barrett ('Charmed' TV series) have both found success in the U.S. over the last few years and as such both have annoyingly muddled accents. I found this distracting and it's never addressed. Grrrrr! There, I've said my piece and you've been warned.
Honestly, the one thing 'Sissy' has working against it is not the film itself but timing. Coming off the back of 'Bodies, Bodies, Bodies', the two films are too similar and sadly with more money and experience, 'Bodies' only highlights what 'Sissy' could have been - but if you liked one you'll like the other. Both deliver a good night out (or in) loaded with blood, trauma, diversity and satisfying "whoa" endings. Above all, muse in a little introspection as to whether you were the bully or the bullied growing up and the sliding doors moment that could have changed it all.