In today’s society social media influencers have become a huge part of our culture. For these people the number of followers, likes, shares & viewers are hot commodities, & potential big business. So it’s no surprise that horror films, which have always done a great job at satirising the worst parts of society have begun to delve into influencer culture as a source for horror & thrills.
Upcoming Australian film, Sissy, does just this as it follows Cecilia (Aisha Dee), better known as Sissy to her followers. During Sissy, Cecilia is invited to a weekend long hens party for her childhood friend. During this weekend away Cecilia will also be forced to spend time her childhood bully Alex (Emily De Margheriti). This unlikely gathering of individuals will see Cecilia’s true character begin to reveal itself to the world.
On a recent episode of The Commentary Booth Emily De Margheriti spoke to City Hub editor Jamie Apps about the film. During the conversation the pair spoke about the dark side of social media, the inspirations behind the film & the excitement the cast & crew have for the film to make its Australian debut at the Sydney Film Festival.
According to Emily her interest in the film was piqued when she received the script in early 2020. In particular the film’s exploration of social media drew Emily in, “the whole concept of social media, specifically Instagram, & how the film explored that was so compelling. I find social media & the negative aspects of it are so interesting.”
Throughout Sissy Instagram plays a major role in Cecilia’s social media influencer empire. For Emily that particular platform is rather concerning, especially in regards to the influencer phenomenon.
“With social media we all show a perspective. Right now you are seeing a perspective of my little box but you don’t know what is going on outside of it. With social media & specifically instagram you’re always putting up pictures of the best version of yourself. Nobody is ever going to post a picture of a negative thing in their life or where they don’t look good. So that can create body dysmorphia in a way, thankfully now there is more of a conversation about that concept.”
Emily hopes that through Sissy this conversation will become louder & more prevalent.
As the conversation continued on the podcast Emily spoke about the real life inspiration behind the script.
“In the creative process though I remember [the writers & directors] Hannah Barlow & Kane Senes talking about Belle Gibson, who faked having cancer & then sold cancer remedies online,” recalled Emily. “They were very influenced by Belle in particular because she was someone who really did use social media for not the best reasons as she was praying on the weak in a way.”
In preparation for her role in the film Emily had to do some significant research & preparation, since she is not personally a horror film fan.
“It was interesting because I don’t watch horror films… I feel like acting in them is a lot of fun but watching them is terrifying, my imagination runs wild. So I got away with a lot but I did have to watch a list that the directors gave me which was a little painful.”
All of this research from every member of the cast paid off though as they have created a film which is filled with realism behind the characters & themes. The character dynamics between the leading ladies in the film especially are so true to life.
“When you watch this film you are not sure who the antagonist is or who the protagonist is. I would like to say it’s open for interpretation as to who’s side you are. Much like life this story is not black & white,” said Emily. “As Alex I feel like I am in the right, but I enjoyed that there were three strong willed women in the movie. Since the film is about a group of women it’s more realistic when things are a little confusing because everyone has their own opinions about things.”
Looking ahead to the Sydney Film Festival Emily said the cast & crew are all very excited & “cant wait for everybody in Australia to see the movie.”