Sissy Movie Review

Written by Joel Harley

Released by Shudder UK & Ireland


Written and directed by Hannah Barlow and Kane Senes
2022, 102 minutes, Not Yet Rated
UK FrightFest Premiere on 29th August 2022

Aisha Dee as Cecilia
Yerin Ha as Tracey
Lucy Barrett as Fran
Hannah Barlow as Emma


Another entry in the growing pantheon of horror films about influencers, Sissy is a story of old friends reconnecting, with one of the pair learning that the other has turned into a monster during years of absence. Yes, Cecilia (Aisha Dee) has become an influencer in her adulthood.

After a chance meeting with estranged childhood friend Emma (Hannah Barlow), Cecilia is invited to a bachelorette party at a remote cabin in the woods. There, old wounds are reopened when Cecilia is reunited with her school bully (a vile Emily Margheriti). Years of personal growth and healing are undone as the pair clash, and a cruel childhood nickname resurfaces. As other members of the group chime in to pick on Cecilia, the health and wellness influencer’s carefully manufactured image begins to crumble. But what is she hiding behind the influencer smile and TikTok platitudes?

sissy 01 sissy 02

This black comedy by Hannah Barlow and Kane Senes explores the scars left by childhood trauma, and what happens when those scabs are picked afresh. At the same time, the writer and director duo present a wickedly witty character study of Cecila herself, in a role nailed by Aisha Dee.

Where the weekend is headed will be of little surprise to those with a keen eye for horror convention, but the journey there is a wild one, regardless. Amidst the bright cinematography and bubbly character work, a fresh flavour of carnage is unveiled, and snappy dialogue and sad flashbacks give way to grisly gore and gnarly violence.

sissy 03 sissy 04

Even as its characters wave around their smart phones and shout about their hip lingo (hashtag triggered), there’s a simplicity that harks back to ‘80s splatter. In the film’s most unsettling scene, Barlow and Senes swap out the hockey mask for a skincare face mask, displaying a keen eye for effective horror imagery. The tongue may be in its cheek, but Sissy takes no prisoners (until the final act, in a more literal sense) especially as it enters its grisly climax. 

Traditionalists may baulk at this new-fangled cabin in the woods movie, with its influencers and safe spaces, but Sissy is a jarringly dark (in a good way) depiction of childhood trauma and adult bullying, with bursts of shocking ‘80s style violence. Even as things change, they stay the same.


Movie: 4 Star Rating Cover

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Joel Harley
Staff Reviewer
Haribo fiend, Nicolas Cage scholar and frequently functioning alcoholic. These are just some of the words which can be used to describe Joel Harley. The rest, he uses to write film criticism for Horror DNA and a variety of websites and magazines. Sometimes he manages to do so without swearing.
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