Watching Sisters, Brian De Palma’s 1973 psychological horror film, is like meeting your best friend’s parents for the first time and suddenly understanding something about you friend that couldn’t have known otherwise — where they came from, and how far they’ve come. A relatively early entry in de Palma’s long and storied career, Sisters features plenty of the style he would become known for, with eyes firmly on Alfred Hitchcock.
Model-actress Danielle (Margot Kidder) brings home her date Phillip (Lisle Wilson) to celebrate her birthday. The day is cut short when her previously-conjoined twin Dominique murders him, leaving Danielle and her estranged husband (William Finley) to clean up the mess. Having witnessing the crime from her window, journalist Grace Collier (Jennifer Salt) reports the crime to the police, but a sweep of the apartment reveals only charming, doe-eyed Danielle. The police dismiss Collier, leaving her to dig up proof of Danielle’s lies on her own.
Sisters features de Palma at his most Hitchcockian. It’s full of homages, with cheeky nods to the repercussions of voyeurism and the instability of sanity. It even features a piercing score by frequent Hitchcock-composer Bernard Herrmann.
But more than that, the technical skill inherited from Hitchcock can be seen in de Palma’s ability to make even mundane events sinister and captivating. Before the stabbing, when Danielle and Phillip are…