GORE IN THE STORE
Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews - By Fans For Fans
Directed by Hannah Barlow & Kane Senes.
Starring Aisha Dee, Hanna Barlow, Emily De Margheriti, Yerin Ha.
Horror, Australia, 102 minutes.
Reviewed as part of Arrow FrightFest ‘22
Streaming on Shudder from 29th September
The subject of social media in cinema seems to have really taken off in the horror genre more than any other. Writers and directors seem to have a keen handle on the darker side of the field that they are more than willing to share. Whether it is the peril of straying onto the wrong side of the tracks into the dark web (ala the underrated UNFRIENDED sequel) or examining the various toxic personalities that populate the multitude of platforms available (DASHCAM), horror cinema seems more prepared to look into and behind what drives the need to chase “likes” and boosting that all important follower count.
One of a handful of films playing at this years FrightFest looking into this typically 21st century phenomenon is the Australian entry SISSY. Although swathed in a bright, dreamy colour scheme sound tracked with bubblegum pop this is a dark satire of one influencer’s desperate need to fill a void in her soul that no amount of heart or thumbs up emojis can come close to fulfilling.
Cecilia is a popular well being guru sharing platitudes of self-love that have struck a chord with her loyal following. A high count of followers means monetary sponsorship deals with the likes of “Elon Mask”, a purifying facial mask. Radiating positivity through the phone screen, Cecilia is never happier when she sees the increase in likes and followers after each of her posts, releasing that chemical rush of dopamine that has been documented in studying addictions to social media. In real life however Cecilia seems to lead a solitary existence that is then upended when she runs into her childhood best friend Emma. Thrilled at this chance to reunite, Emma insists Cecilia come along to her hen party before her wedding to Fran. Rediscovering the thrill of a real-life connection Cecilia soon crashes into a crisis of confidence when childhood bully Alex appears at the party. More than keen to dig up old resentments, Alex brings out a desperate side to Cecilia, or Sissy as she cruelly nicknamed her in the past, that descends into a storm of darkly comic carnage and eye-popping gore.
This is a scathing take down of social media and its addictive, toxic nature crossed with a complex look at the nature of childhood friendships. The downright fake and fraudulent nature of Cecilia’s lifestyle is mercilessly skewered by Alex and Emma’s friends in one excruciating dinner scene. Further squirm inducing events contribute further to Cecila’s fragile hold on her situation, which she tries to correct with the positive mantras and rituals she peddles online but are shown to be nothing more than exercises in delusion away from the ring-lights and cameras.
This breakdown in self-esteem leads onto an entertaining slice of mayhem where the selfish side of everyone else are neatly displayed and punished in a style that escalates in sometimes surprising brutality. These shocking outbursts just add to the fun and unpredictable nature that leads to its darkly satirical conclusion.
Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews
By Fans For Fans