An influencer attends an old friend’s bachelorette weekend where she is forced to deal with a former bully with bloody results in Hannah Barlow and Kane Senes’ Sissy.
Horror is often used to hold up a mirror to the world we inhabit and twist everyday concepts in inventive ways. Social media is ubiquitous in the modern world and there are countless examples of people having terrible experiences on the various platforms. It’s as much a part of real life as anything else and can be emotionally damaging in very visceral ways but it can also be comforting as it brings people together and helps combat isolation. Sissy isn’t explicitly about social media but it’s as integral a part of the world the film inhabits as it is the one outside of it.
Aisha Dee plays Cecilia (Aisha Dee); a mental health social media influencer that has a large and dedicated following. Very quickly it’s established that her influencing is as much -if not more- about helping herself process her deep-seated mental issues as it is about helping others struggling in their own ways. There’s a falseness to Cecilia that comes across very clearly suggesting that she doesn’t actually care about the well-being of those who follow her. This is backed up by showing DMs from people crying out for help that she ignores. Cecilia seems very passive in her own life, isolated from in-person connections and living her life online. It contributes to the idea of her being stuck in the past and constantly failing to truly move on from it. A particularly effective device is the repetition of the notification sound serving as a constant reminder that Cecilia has a following and cuts to an increasing follower count as an indication of where she finds validation. It compliments her isolation and lack of engagement with the real world while also being deeply unsettling.
Cecilia is a fascinating protagonist with her point of view occupying the majority of the film. A lot of effort is put into making her sympathetic despite her being a wholly problematic character. Sissy has a sharp script that keenly misdirects the viewer into believing that Cecilia was the victim of an injustice in her childhood before slowly revealing more complex details surrounding it. As the pieces come together the audience is forced to question their investment in Cecilia. It’s analogous to someone’s online persona being very far from the person they truly are and the viewer comes to realise that as things progress.
An invitation to an old friend’s bachelorette weekend creates challenges for Cecilia, specifically in the form of Alex (Emily De Margheriti); a figure from Cecilia’s childhood that hasn’t forgotten their history. It’s through their connection that the biggest misdirect the film has to offer comes into play. By the time Alex is introduced the audience has been encouraged to fully support Cecilia which makes the perception of Alex as a childhood bully an easy sell. Alex’s hostility towards Cecilia supports that so the reveal of the truth is powerful and surprising when it comes.
Cecilia’s relationship with her old friend, Emma (Hannah Barlow) is foundational for her. Sissy is peppered with footage of a home movie created by them when they were children. In that video, they promised to be best friends forever and the repetition of that footage indicates that Cecilia is very much stuck in that past with no awareness of the life Emma has lived or the changes that have occurred since that captured childhood moment. In many ways, Cecilia hasn’t changed since that time because she is so fixated on the innocent friendship that no longer exists for either of them.
One thing the film falters on is justifying the reason for Emma inviting Cecilia to her bachelorette weekend after only reconnecting for a single day and Cecilia agreeing to go despite clear discomfort. It comes down to a lack of time spent on Emma as a character who oddly inhabits the background despite her upcoming wedding being the catalyst for everything that happens. Other characters similarly suffer a lack of development though each of them stand out enough to be remembered when they suffer grizzly fates.
Sissy belongs to the slasher genre and approaches horror in a tongue-in-cheek way. The kills are creative, varied and increasingly hilarious. Gore is more comedic than gratuitous though there is some intense imagery. Cecilia being the killer as well as the protagonist is an interesting novelty that the film uses really well. It’s tightly constructed to allow for natural escalation stemming from a single mistake that Cecilia ultimately opts to double down on. There’s also a psychological component to the horror as Cecilia quickly unravels. Aisha Dee masterfully handles the transition from outward naivety and false positivity to unhinged mania. It’s a stunning leading performance and fits in with the tone perfectly. Sissy is an excellent example of what it wants to be. It features an engaging lead character, impressive depth and is immensely entertaining.
An excellent comedically charged slasher film with a stunning leading performance, impressive depth and clever flourishes that help it stand out among its peers. Aisha Dee’s Cecilia is an engaging and wonderfully played protagonist with a fascinating background. Her role as a social media influencer contrasts nicely with her real-world isolation and contributes to the idea of her being stuck in the past. A lot of effort is put into making her sympathetic despite her being a wholly problematic character. A sharp script lulls the viewer into being on her side before revealing the misdirect and building on it. Cecilia’s relationship with her old friend, Emma is foundational for her and the film bases much of what happens around a lack of awareness of life and people moving on from a singular moment. One thing the film falters on is justifying the reason for Emma inviting Cecilia to her bachelorette weekend after only reconnecting for a single day and Cecilia agreeing to go despite clear discomfort. Sissy belongs to the slasher genre and approaches horror in a tongue-in-cheek way. The kills are creative, varied and increasingly hilarious. Gore is more comedic than gratuitous though there is some intense imagery. Cecilia being the killer as well as the protagonist is an interesting novelty that the film uses really well. There’s also a psychological component to the horror as Cecilia quickly unravels. Sissy is an excellent example of what it wants to be. It features an engaging lead character, impressive depth and is immensely entertaining.
- Aisha Dee’s excellent leading performance
- Cecilia being an engaging protagonist
- compelling commentary on the dangers of living life online
- the exploration of Cecilia’s relationship to Emma
- creative, varied and increasingly hilarious kills
- a tightly constructed narrative allowing for natural escalation
- not properly justifying Emma’s reason for inviting Cecilia or Cecilia’s decision to attend
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