Sisters (1972)

sisters poster 1972 movie brian de palma
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 8/10
Directing: 9/10

Nice directing, good acting

Story has some really predictable moments

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Sisters

Studio:  American International Pictures

Genre(s):  Horror/Mystery/Suspense

Release Date(s):  November 18, 1972 (Filmex)/March 26, 1973 (US)

MPAA Rating:  R

sisters daniel breton dominique margot kidder murder

She is a bear in when she gets up in the morning…don’t even think of offering her cake

Danielle Breton (Margot Kidder) goes home with a fellow game show contestant named Philip Woode (Lisle Wilson) and Philip spends the night.  Philip learns it is Danielle and her twin Dominique’s birthday, but Philip is violently murdered by Dominique when he returns.  The murder is witnessed by Danielle’s neighbor Grace Collier (Jennifer Salt) who reports for a local paper.  When police refuse to believe Grace’s story, Grace sets out to prove the murder occurred and that Danielle is hiding something.

Directed by Brian De Palma, Sisters is a horror suspense thriller.  Following Get to Know Your Rabbit (also in 1972), it is one of Brian DePalma’s early films.  The movie had a small premiere in 1972 and a wider release in 1973 where it was relatively well received. The Criterion Collection released a remastered version of the film (Criterion #89), and the film was remade in 2006 with Chloe Sevigny, Lou Doillon, and Stephen Rea.

sisters split screen murder clean up jennifer salt dolph sweet

Murder cover-up De Palma-Style!

Sisters for a while was kind of hard to track down.  I like De Palma and I like his horror films.  I wanted to see sisters and finally had access to it through Criterion.  I’ve watched the film a few times now and find it a unique thriller that shows a lot of De Palma’s classic traits.

Sisters is a nice blend of horror and Hitchcockian suspense.  The story is kind of obvious with the whole twin thing, but what is interesting is the introduction of Salt’s character after the murder. Salt becomes the Vera Miles character from Psycho or Grace Kelly from Rear Window.  It becomes almost a case of cat-and-mouse as Salt tries to uncover the truth and Kidder and her allies try to cover it. Kidder seems nice and fragile before the murder so you don’t entirely want her to be sick.

De Palma does a great job with the film.  The split screen scenes where Salt is waiting for the police while Kidder and her doctor (Bill Finlay) try to cover up the murder is great.  It builds a lot of suspense.  This is one of De Palma’s signature styles and he also used it greatly in Dressed to Kill and Carrie.  I love early De Palma films and this one is a great example of his work.

sisters ending margot kidder jennifer salt

Seems like every Saturday morning to me…

The movie is also filled with a bunch of fun actors and actresses. Margot Kidder was just starting out and later went on to the Canadian horror film Black Christmas and of course Superman.  Jennifer Salt and Kidder were actually roommates and given the script by De Palma as a gift, and Salt now does a lot of writing and producing.  Charles Durning plays his normal role as a private eye along with the other typecast officer Dolph Sweet (from Gimme a Break!).  Barnard Hughes shows up as a newspaper man and Olympia Dukakis has a small role as a bakery worker.  The person I feel bad about is Lisle Wilson who is being so nice to this woman (getting her a cake and everything), and he pays the price for it.

Sisters still isn’t always easy to find since it only floats around art house channels, but streaming and things like the Criterion Channel have made it easier to hunt down.  The movie might not be the most original film, but the acting is strong and directing is fun.  More suspense than horror, Sisters is nice watch and like most De Palma films at least brings some style to the story.  De Palma followed Sisters with Phantom of Paradise in 1974.

Related Links:

Sisters (2006)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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