Movie Review: Sissy

SXSW Review: Sissy is a Luscious and Brutal Horror Comedy

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Revenge stories have changed a bit over the years, especially since it doesn’t take much to upset people these days. But the story of Sissy goes a little deeper, at least since there is an underlying cause for the awkward nature of the titular character. As the movie opens, the audience is introduced to Sissy, or Cecilia, as she and her best friend, Emma, are shown as children when they promise to be best friends forever. This is a common thing among children, right? When we’re young, we figure that we’ll have the same friends for life, that we’ll remain close, and that things won’t change. But life happens, and before we know it, we’re splitting from those we thought that we’d be around forever, and life sweeps us down different pathways that we didn’t expect. Despite the fact that it’s shown that Sissy has her own online presence and hundreds of thousands of followers, there are also a few signs that she’s not complete, as she doesn’t appear to have many real friends. But when she has a chance encounter with Emma, who she hasn’t seen in years, things begin to happen that she couldn’t have foreseen. 

Sissy (2022) - IMDb

credit: Sissy

Sissy is not a happy person, no matter how much she preaches to people online. 

The fact that Sissy runs from Emma after a random encounter speaks volumes about the past they share, but nothing is really made clear until later. Instead, Emma appears happy to reunite with Sissy and even invites her to a party that night. While Sissy does take her up on this offer, it still feels awkward as Sissy has to meet Emma’s betrothed, and her friends, who appear to welcome Sissy but are also hard to trust since Sissy still feels like an outsider despite her history with Emma. When she’s invited to Emma’s hen party, Sissy thinks about it but ends up going anyway. It does appear that she bonds with Emma’s friends on the way to the party, though a chance encounter with a kangaroo adds a bit of foreshadowing to the story as the group first runs into the animal and then runs over it to keep it from suffering. 

It feels as though Sissy was never bound to be accepted by Emma’s friends. 

Things don’t start off great once the group reaches the hen party that’s being thrown by Alex, another friend of Emma’s, who hates Sissy with a passion. There is a reason for this that’s revealed thanks to the scar on the left side of Alex’s face that was given years before, but again, this story doesn’t come to light until later. For the time being, it would appear that Alex simply doesn’t like Sissy and is adamant about bullying her, as the others follow suit by questioning what she does, how much she makes, and whether her chosen profession is even worth the followers that she’s amassed. When Sissy wakes up the following morning, she finds that Emma has left her a map to a camping spot where she and her friends have set up and are currently relaxing. Unfortunately, once she arrives, Sissy overhears the group talking about her and decides to hide instead of joining them. Alex, however, knows she’s there, and once the others leave, Sissy and Alex engage in a fight that sees Sissy beat Alex over the back of the head, presumably killing her. 

Review: new Australian horror-comedy Sissy is bloody good fun

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Revenge turns out to be habit-forming. 

After burying Alex, Sissy ends up killing two of her other friends as she pushes Jamie off a cliff and then pushes Tracey into a bathtub where, somehow, she’s scalped when her hair is sucked into the drain. She then encounters Fran, Emma’s betrothed, on the road, and after accelerating to well over 150 kph, slams on the brakes, sending Fran flying through the windshield. Running over Fran to put her out of her misery, Sissy then heads back to the cabin, where she attempts to convince Emma of her intentions before she ties her up. When Emma gets free, she and Sissy fight, only for Alex to show up, still alive, and beat Emma to death with Jamie’s walking brace. Unfortunately, after her vision clears, Alex sees that she’s just beaten her best friend to death, and the police, who have already been called, arrive and shoot Alex in the head before she can turn her anger on Sissy. 

It’s tough to root for anyone in this movie. 

To be fair, it feels like a lot of millennial anger that could have been solved with a sincere apology. True, it’s revealed that Sissy did slam a trowel point first into Alex’s face when they were children, which was a result of Alex’s incessant bullying, but at the same time, it feels as though things could have been avoided had Sissy not gone to the party, or had she sat down with Alex to apologize. In other words, this was a bloodbath that didn’t need to happen, but it was interesting all the same. 

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