Review Date: January 8, 2001
Released by: Anchor Bay Entertainment
Release date: 1/16/2001
Region 1, NTSC
Widescreen 2.35:1 | 16x9: Yes
Charlotte (Judith Ivey) and her emotionally disturbed sister Lucy (Jennifer Jason Leigh) live together in the family's mansion located in Louisiana. Their parents died long ago, and the two have been on their own for some time. Lucy has been in and out of mental hospitals, and Charlotte has always felt it was her duty to protect and take care of Lucy as much as possible. She's even given up relationships and love for Lucy. She often treats Lucky like a child because of her emotional problems, even though she's gotten much better. The sisters now use the mansion as a hotel of sorts, which helps them financially.
Some new guests check into the mansion, one of which includes congressional aide Matt Rutledge (Eric Stoltz). When Matt arrives he interrupts a small struggle Lucy is having with Etienne (Benjamin Mouton), the mansion's handyman, who obviously has feelings for Lucy. Matt also beings to develop feelings towards Lucy. When he goes out on a boat ride with Etienne, he's indirectly warned with a shotgun to stay away from her.
The next day Lucy's dog Bo is found dead, strangled with a vacuum cleaner's cord. Police immediately suspect Etienne. They go to his nearby shack to question him. When Etienne returns and sees the police, he flees. After this ordeal most of hotel guests leave. Matt only leaves temporarily, promising to return that night. Not only does Matt return, Etienne returns as well. He accuses Charlotte of being responsible for the dog's murder, claiming that she's the only one who has a history of killing. A dark secret from the sisters past begins to surface. A secret that's been hidden away in the swamps for many years, swamps that Lucy believes are filled with ghosts. The stakes get higher when Lucy discovers a dead human body. With fewer suspects, Lucy begins to suspect who the real killer is, but it may be too late to stop them before there's more bloodshed.
Sister, Sister is a decent movie, but it has faults that may make it unenjoyable for some. I should point out that it's not really a horror movie. It's more of a murder/mystery, as you can probably tell from the plot outline. There's very few killings and the few that are there don't really contain any gore or suspense. There are a few good scares and many may find it hard to guess who the killer really is, making it a decent mystery. One big problem is the story itself isn't all that great, nor is it implemented all that well. There are parts to the story that just don't fit in well, such as these ghosts in the swamp. Various scenes towards the end of the movie were repetitive or redundant (though it's explained why in the commentary).
Acting all around was great, though Eric Stoltz gave a somewhat dry performance as usual. I've always been a fan of Jennifer Jason Leigh, who seems to be able to play the role of a disturbed person to perfection. The rest of the cast give decent performances. In the end I'd probably recommend this as a rental, especially as a "couple flick". It's a movie both you and your significant other can probably enjoy watching at least once if you can deal with its faults.
Anchor Bay presents Sister, Sister in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio in a new 16x9 transfer. An incredible job was done on restoration, resulting in a nearly flawless transfer. The main problem was light grain that is present throughout most of the presentation, though often it's hardly noticeable. There also some small compression artifacts that appear during some of the fog scenes. Few small blemishes here and there, hardly worth mentioning. Other then the, the transfer is perfect. Colors are strong, vivid and nicely saturated. Image quality is extremely sharp with no visible soft spots. Another great job by Anchor Bay. B+
The sound has been remixed into Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound. Not too much activity on rears or LFE. Given this isn't really an action movie that's not all that surprising. The rears and LFE activity that is present is used effectively and in the appropriate scenes. The new track is powerful and well balanced, resulting in a very pleasing remix. Track is distortion free with clear dialogue. Rating this an A.
There are a few enjoyable extras included on this DVD. First up is the audio commentary with director/co-writer Bill Condon (now famous for directing Gods and Monsters) is included. He discusses many topics including the faults of the film, what works in the film, how the script came to be, how he became a director, how he got various cast and crew members, disaster test screenings and much more. He also points out various scenes that were added back into this Anchor Bay DVD, as well as discussing various scenes that didn't make it back onto the DVD. There are a lot of gaps as this isn't really a scene specific commentary; I still found it very enjoyable. There's no doubt Bill is a fan of the horror genre as well as DVDs (especially Anchor Bay DVDs!!!). It's interesting to hear him point out the many faults of the film, as well as what he thought worked about it. Great commentary that will be enjoyed by any film buff, regardless of whether you like this movie or not.
Three deleted scenes are included with optional commentary by Bill Condon. They're fairly short and don't really add or detract from the story at all. Each is presented in anamorphic widescreen. A few of them were never really finished so the quality isn't all that great. And finally there's a Bill Condon bio and theatrical trailer.
An okay movie, though it has a few faults in the story, which isn't all that great to begin with. If you're into murder/mystery I'd definitely recommend it as a rental. Anchor Bay did a wonderful job on the DVD, proving a great a/v presentation and some nice extras, including an audio commentary with director/co-writer Bill Condon.
Movie - C+
Image Quality - B+
Sound - A
Supplements - B
- Running time - 1 hour 29 minutes
- Rated R
- 1 Disc
- Chapter stops
- Dolby Digital 5.1
- Commentary with Writer/Director Bill Condon
- Theatrical Trailer
- Deleted Scenes
- Bill Condon Bio