The Sinners (Frightfest 2020) review – high school slash-a-thon

3

Summary

The Sinners is a nice twist on the modern slasher, dripped in the high school cult popularity environment.

The Sinners is the directorial debut of Courtney Paige, starring 1922’s Kaitlyn Bernard, Brenna Llewellyn, Brenna Coates, and Keilani Elizabeth Rose, and is a horror thriller.

The Sinners follows Aubrey Miller (Llewellyn) and tells the story of how she ended up at the bottom of the lake, being among the popular clique of girls — Grace Carver (Bernard), Tori Davidson (Coates), Katie Hamilton (Rose), Molly McIvor (Fawcett), Robyn Pearce (Malaika) and Stacey Rodgers (Randhawa) — known as The Sinners, so-called because of their reputation for being a different sin. When the other girls learn that Aubrey has been keeping a journal with the deepest secrets about the Sinners, they decide to teach her a lesson, only things spiral out of control when Aubrey goes missing and Grace must lead the other girls in trying to cover up the truth, only to find themselves targeted by someone in the town.

The Sinners uses the story to bring us a film that starts off following the idea of a cult-like high school group looking to haze a member with everything going wrong, before turning into a slasher, which does work to give us a fun spin on what we are expecting. Turning a group of high school girls into the walking representation of the seven deadly sins works well, bringing us a fresh set of nicknames, which also gets to play into the stereotypes we are so used to seeing. The story does have some clever twists and turns along the way, showing us how the characters that are hazing get turned into the victims that we are meant to be supporting, to see if they can make it out alive. We are kept guessing as to who is behind the string of killings, but the narration only seems to confuse the overall story that we are watching.

The Sinner has performances from Kaitlyn Bernard as the confident religious figure that has been trapped in this world, looking to break out, which we see from the friend’s treatment of her, while still being insecure deep down. Brenna Llewellyn is the religious smart girl that always looks like she doesn’t fit in with the group, which seems to be the idea, with the rest of the girls have strong chemistry to make us believe we are watching a group of high school friends do their everyday routine.

The Sinner is a horror-thriller that brings to life the idea of a slasher with the backdrop of a highly religious town, where the high school students are looking to escape the shackles, breaking the rules and playing on the idea of the deadly sins. We get to see the stalker killer do their thing, with the kills meaning something in the presentation, while the mystery about what happened to Aubrey becomes front and center to everything else going on. We don’t get enough tension to make everything truly great and once we get the out of towner cops we end up falling into a comedy environment, without meaning to, putting far too much attention on those characters over the girls, who should have been given most of the screen time.


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Darren Lucas

Darren starting writing for films at Movies Reviews 101. He joined the Ready Steady Cut team in 2018 and is a proud member of the LAMB (Large Association of movie bloggers).

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