If you were to divide the slasher genre into subsections you might agree with me that there are two main camps. The more traditional body count slashers, akin to 1980s drive in successes and then the darker kidnapper/torture style of scenarios which, despite having lower kill count, entertain audiences with notched-up violence and an often a greater insight into the psychologically deranged minds and motive of the killer. ‘My Little Sister’ is 100% the later, and drawing influences from films such as ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ and ‘Wolf Creek’ amongst others.
Despite being in English, the film could be considered an Italian slasher with Maurizio and Roberto del Piccolo directing their third feature. Given the countries heritage for horror I would be promoting this all over the place, and whilst ‘My Little Sister’ doesn’t exactly come across as one of the strongest exports from Southern Europe, it’s got some good ideas, and some nice violence to put it on the map if you are in the market for a backwoods slasher.
The plot concerns two young campers and a killer dubbed ‘Little sister’. Needless to say, and despite the warnings, the two camp where they shouldn’t and ‘get got’. One survives, the other, doesn’t fair so well – although to be honest he lasted longer than you might think considering his encounter with the sharp end of an axe. The rest of the film is a simple cat and mouse tale, where our brave heroine must unravel the past of the oddly named killer, a history which is conveniently revealed periodically through old home movies watched by a corpse!
Tension is the name of the game here, and you will either be in the right frame of mind for it, and ultimately enjoy the film, or you won’t. Whilst viewing, myself and my esteemed colleague were continuously of two minds about the movie. On the one hand the gore sequences were strong enough, with some decent effects on the aftermaths, including genre favourites impaling’s, scissor lacerations and axe cleaving’s. At the beginning of the movie the tension was up there with the best of them, and, whilst the killer may have looked a little daft in broad daylight, the dead-skin mask made him look menacing enough but how was this going to be sustained throughout a 90-minute feature? Ultimately, we decided it wasn’t, and that the film had simply shown its hand to eagerly, without taking the time to establish itself.
It I was to defend it, I would say that the film had all the right ingredients, but in the wrong order to have become a fully accomplished slasher.
The acting was on point, and certainly the location and aesthetics were more than satisfactory. There were some creepy moments, and some enjoyable (if not a little blatant) homages to show that this was a film made with the right intentions, but, the film predominantly consists of very little dialogue and a lot of creeping around a house to the point of almost being caught and then a solid 5 minutes of screaming. Rinse and repeat.
Oddly enough, there is a nice little back story which is told through the use of home video cassettes which explains the killers motive and less than threatening nickname, and this would have been a fantastic framing devise had it not have been shown in an extended exposition scene right at the end of the movie.
Talking of endings, well there is a nice little twist also.
Overall, there are some really nice touches to ‘My Little Sister’ which sees it edge just beyond average when you consider its contemporise, but ultimately it just lacked that extra bit of substance in its first act, that little bit of restraint which would have given all the good parts that little extra impact. Still, the del Piccolo brothers don’t show any signs of leaving the genre just yet, and fans of their work will find plenty to enjoy here also.