Directed by: Maurizio del Piccolo, Roberto del Piccolo
Cast: Lucia Castellano, Alberto Corba, Astrid Di Bon
My Little Sister starts on a pretty bleak note, as we see a couple being held against their will while a madman in a mask takes to torturing the duo. Now, we’ve seen these forms of openings in the past, but they’re not always as brutal as what we witness here, as a man has his face cut off while still alive. One of my first thoughts was that this may be a long lost installment of the Hellraiser franchise… but no cenobites thus far, so we can probably rule that. All the same, the pic’s antagonist is a savage son of a bitch who clearly gets his kicks by slaughtering the unsuspecting.
For the most part, that’s the theme of the film: capture, torture, kill… sounds like a certain – cough, cough BTK – serial killer we all know. That’s not to say there’s no deviation in Maurizio del Piccolo and Roberto del Piccolo’s formula, it’s just to emphasize what kind of picture viewers are in store for.
To the credit of our filmmakers: Roberto del Piccolo also writes, while Maurizio del Piccolo handles the editing, essentially making this their true beauty (all too often we see outside sources come into play to craft airtight scripts and fluent editing) through and through, this is a far more spirited piece than your typical stalk, slash and torment prior to death kind of picture.
Beyond our introductory moments we pick up with a look at two young hikers who unintentionally wander into the wrong woods, where “Little Sister” – the masked man seen slaughtering the helpless in the opening moments of the movie dwells. They receive a fair warning from a rugged local, but these two are young and naïve, and apparently unwilling to heed what most would consider a pretty serious warning.
And you probably know how things are going to play out for these campers.
Moving beyond any potentially spoiler filled realm, well talk about some of the pic’s strengths. It’s a well shot production, indie, but properly disguised by embracing limitations as opposed to forcing monumental moments that are simply not plausible given fiscal limitations.
To be honest, I enjoy films like this. In this business it’s important to approach challenges with a sense of understanding and awareness. The Piccolo’s knew they were treading a thin fabric, so they never aspire to deliver profound visuals or camera techniques, as they simply could not afford them. But don’t let the minimalist approach turn you away, My Little Sister is a fairly well-made film, and it’s hard not to respect the purist ideas of the Piccolos. They know exactly what they can pull off, and exactly what they can’t pull off. It keeps them grounded, no doubt.
There are a number of different camera maneuvers exploited, and that also helps to keep the film fresh. While the character development could use a bit of work, overall, My Little Sister is just spirited enough to captivate the audience while delivering a slightly different spin on the slasher subgenre. And there are more than enough unanticipated sequences to keep a nice big WTF expression etched in your features.
I won’t leap to label this film a masterpiece (and again, I won’t spoil the final act), or a classic in the making, but it does make for a fun, late night watch. So turn the lights down low, get the kids in bed, crack open an ice cold beer and enjoy this grimy little film for what it is: an ugly but eerie affair with a villain that could potentially become quite familiar to genre fans. Again, this isn’t a flawless film, but it boasts some satisfying depravity sure to leave fans more than a little perturbed.