Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Sisters of Death (1976)

I've mentioned before that some low budget films have a Thing: a feature or moment that leaps out to you and says "This right here.  This is the idea that spurred them to make this movie.  The Thing that they thought made it special".

The Thing in Sisters of Death comes right at the end of the film, and it's actually got some promise to it.  If properly built up to, artfully but subtly foreshadowed, and delivered with verve, it really could have been a real sting in the movie's tale.

The key word in the previous sentence is not the puntacular 'tale'.  It's 'if'.

Because alas, like many low budget films that have a Thing, this one lacks the technical and artistic talent to pull it off successfully.  The script is clunky and unfocused; the acting likewise.  A whole lot of nothing much goes on for a whole lot of the film, and when things do happen they sometimes lack context.  For example, much is made of a big, scary spider that prowls around in several scenes, but its entire narrative purpose ... well, it doesn't really have one except to go for cheap arachnophobic chills.

In any case, the premise of the movie is this: a sorority initiation ceremony, involving a staged game of Russian Roulette, goes horribly awry when a real bullet somehow ends up in the gun.  A young woman dies.

Seven years later, the other five women who were present at the event receive an all expenses paid invitation to a sorority reunion party.  Although several of them have misgivings about the idea - gee, I wonder why? - they all decide to go along.  And they continue to go along even when they're met at their destination by two guys and spirited off to a ranch in the middle of nowhere.

Of course, there's a sinister explanation for the summons they've received.  There wouldn't be much of a movie if this was just a run of the mill reunion, after all.  I won't spoil any of the details.  Like I said, the film actually has a potentially worthwhile Thing, and I guess there's a faint chance you might want to sit through the tedium of the first hour to find out what it is.

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