starring Chloë Sevigny, Dallas Roberts, Lou Doillon, Stephen Rea
screenplay by Douglas Buck & John Freitas, based on an earlier screenplay by Brian De Palma & Louisa Rose
directed by Douglas Buck
by Ian Pugh Perhaps a little too earnest for its own good, Douglas Buck's Sisters takes one of Brian De Palma's most transparent tributes to Hitchcock and almost completely abandons its homage-laden aesthetic, convinced that saddling everyone with even more psychological baggage would somehow expand on the previous film's chilling ideas about identity panic. The basic structure remains the same: attempting to escape the grasp of her controlling psychiatrist ex-husband (Stephen Rea, who wields green syringes often enough that he acquires a weird Herbert West vibe), quiet Angelique (Lou Doillon) takes solace in nice-guy cipher Dylan Wallace (Dallas Roberts), but soon they run afoul of her disturbed twin, Annabelle, with a depressed but dedicated reporter (Chloë Sevigny) not too far behind. Buck and co-writer John Freitas use up all of their creepiest material in the opening scene, which replaces the original's satirical game show with a kid's birthday party that plunges head-first into disturbing surrealism: Rea gamely dressed as a magician; Roberts staring directly at us in a pair of Groucho glasses; and Sevigny--who, it bears mentioning, looks a lot like Margot Kidder here--as a rather sinister party clown. Unfortunately, Sisters never reaches that level of terror again, preoccupied as it is with stale characterizations and motives; a casual reversal of the MacGuffins from the 1973 film is a transparently forced, unnecessary attempt to prove that this remake can stand on its own two feet. You do have to acknowledge the filmmakers' chutzpah in rearranging the third act of the plot so dramatically--ending up where De Palma's version was destined to end up before its classic turnaround--yet they still don't want to stray too far from the generalities of the source material. By trying to increase the "substance" of it, and by giving everyone mental and sexual hang-ups similar to those of its titular siblings, Sisters distances us from the purposely vague, vicarious fears upon which the story was founded.