SISTERS (1973)

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Elizabeth (spoilers!)

Watching Sisters was accidentally a really weird experience for me. When we first saw Danielle Breton (Margot Kidder) on screen, I thought she looked so familiar, but I just assumed it was because it was Margot Kidder. But the more the movie went on, the more I was able to correctly anticipate everything that was about to happen. Chris didn’t recognize any of it, and after a certain point it was all totally new to me, too. So that led me to conclude that at some point in the past couple of years I must have started watching Sisters, stopped watching it, and didn’t pick it up again or really remember that I did this. So that was kind of weird.

Once I was done being distracted by all of that it was easier to focus on the movie itself. Kidder also plays Dominique Blanchion, Danielle’s former conjoined twin. At first it’s not entirely clear what the whole twin situation is, as we never see Danielle and Dominique together and we only hear them talk behind a closed door, Psycho style. We do know, however, that someone (and as far as we can tell, it’s Dominique) kills a one-night stand of Danielle’s, which Danielle’s neighbor, Grace (Jennifer Salt) witnesses. Grace is a reporter who is critical of cops, and when they come to help they write off Grace almost completely. When Grace and Detective Kelly (Dolph Sweet) finally get to Danielle’s apartment, the crime scene is cleaned up and the body is hidden in the couch, done with the help of Danielle’s ex-husband/psychiatrist, Emil (William Finley). From there, Grace hires a private detective to follow the couch, as they both believe that’s where the body is, and she goes on to figure out what’s up with Danielle and Dominique and who killed the man she saw die.

Now, this could be in large part due to the fact that I saw the first half of Sisters before, but a lot of it felt predictable to me. I can’t say if it would have been predictable to an audience in 1973, but to me it felt like a cross between Psycho and Cure but never really getting to be as good as those. We find out that while Danielle and Dominique were conjoined, they had to be separated to spare Danielle from dying in childbirth, with the separation killing Dominique. This is told to us in a series of dreams and flashbacks experienced by Grace and Danielle as they both become trapped in a mental hospital by Emil, with Emil hypnotizing them both. Emil convinces Grace that she did not witness a murder, but eventually Danielle, switching back and forth between herself and Dominique, kills Emil. Later, we see Detective Kelly apologizing to Grace and trying to find out what happened to the first victim, but Grace is still convinced that there was no murder.

Sisters was weird and it was scary in that it’s kind of a PSA against spending the night with someone you don’t know. But it did just feel predictable to me. From no one believing Grace until she eventually is trapped in a mental hospital against her will to Emil looking comically evil, it just didn’t feel particularly challenging or new. I did love one sequence that uses a split-screen to show Grace trying to get the cops to catch Danielle and Emil while we see Danielle and Emil cleaning up the crime scene. This is good, but probably not De Palma’s best.

Christopher

I had never heard of this movie before we came across it on Hulu. I have seen a bunch of Brian De Palma movies though because my friend from back home had me borrow a bunch of his movies after college. He’s a pretty interesting director and Sisters is no exception. It was pretty interesting. I think it did have some problems and it’s one of those movies that just dumps you in the middle of something and you have to figure out what’s going on.

This movie didn’t blow me away but I would recommend it to people for sure.

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