Instagram influencer Cecilia, a.k.a. Sissy, doesn’t just have a follower count – she’s got a body count.
In new Australian queer horror film Sissy, the titular character (The Bold Type‘s Aisha Dee) is a 20-something wellness and mental health influencer.
She is living the dream, with a seemingly perfect, curated life on-camera with thousands of followers. But off-camera, she has a very different and very isolated life.
Cecilia she unexpectedly bumps into her childhood best friend Emma (Hannah Barlow) at the supermarket. She finds herself invited to Emma’s bachelorette weekend, and initially, she’s excited.
As children, Cecilia and Emma swore they’d be friends forever, until Emma’s girlfriend and third wheel Alex entered the picture. The pair’s friendship turned to bullying, and a vicious falling-out.
Now Cecilia reconnects with Emma, who’s invited her to a hen’s weekend at a remote cabin in the mountains belonging to Alex.
The women’s passive-aggressiveness morphs into outright aggression, and then all revenge-fuelled hell breaks loose.
Australian horror comedy film Sissy got rave reviews at SXSW
The Canberra-shot film debuted at the SXSW festival in the US earlier this year to rave reviews. Earlier this month, it premiered in Queensland at the New Farm Queer Film Festival.
Sissy is a darkly funny, satirical horror film, once described by writer/directors Hannah Barlow and Kane Senes as Muriel’s Wedding “if Muriel decided to get gruesome revenge on her bullies.”
Queensland-born actress Aisha Dee explained Sissy was appealing for her to read and “imagining what the movie would look like”.
“It felt really special to think about a movie like that existing just in the film and TV space in Australia in general,” she told the Canberra Times.
“I can’t think of another Australian film that looks like this, that has a cast as beautifully diverse as this one.”
Dee said she jumped at the chance to play “a psycho” in Sissy.
“I don’t want to just have to play virtuous characters who have a really strong sense of right and wrong and always do the right thing,” she said.
“I love to play make-believe and sometimes I want to play the psycho.”
She added, “I knew that after the first time I read it, I really cared about her. She felt like my friend, she felt like someone that I really wanted to defend. And I just had a lot of empathy for her and what she was experiencing.
“As serious as it sounds, I felt like it was my duty to make sure that people understood that she was a good person.”
Aisha Dee said social media “can be used for really amazing good in the world, to connect people.”
“Initially, [Cecilia] uses social media to create a community for herself and [fill] a void she’s not able to fill in the real world because she’s been so socially isolated,” she explained.
“But then you also have this darker, scary and more insidious side to it, which I believe exists in the real world as well.”
Sissy is in select cinemas in this week for Halloween sneak previews before releasing next Thursday (November 3).
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