Sunday Matinee: Sisters

Director Brian De Palma had been making movies for several years, mostly dramas before he shifted gears and focusing on thriller/horror movies starting with 1972’s Sisters.

Sisters stars a young Margot Kidder as a French-Canadian model/actress who is trying to make it in New York City. She stars in a peeping tom talk show and goes out for supper with the other actor Phillip Woode (Lisle Wilson) who won dinner for two for his participation in the show. A creepy man shows up at the restaurant and demands that Kidder come home. Kidder claims the man is her ex-husband. The man, Dr. Emil Breton (William Finley) claims that he is her husband. He’s escorted out of the restaurant. Afterwards Philip and Kidder go to Kidder’s apartment where they spend the night.

In the morning Kidder reveals that she has a twin sister in the other room and that today is their birthday. Kidder is also out of a medication that she gets Philip to run out and get a refill for. While out Philip buys a cake for the two sisters.

Upon returning to the apartment he finds Kidder in bed and brings her the cake only to get murdered by the other sister. Across the street reporter Grace Collier (Jennifer Salt) witnesses the murder and calls the police. While Grace waits for the police, Dr. Breton arrives at Kidder’s apartment and cleans up the murder scene. Nobody believes Grace so she starts investigating.

The movie is the first of De Palma’s homages to Alfred Hitchcock. He even got frequent Hitchcock music composer Bernard Herrmann to do the score for the movie. It’s also the first time De Palma used split screen in his film – a technique that he would use in more films like Carrie. Sisters is really good. Kidder is excellent as is Salt. While the Hitchcock homages are obvious it doesn’t distract from the story.