Dear me. This 76-minute film really tested my patience.
It opens in a barn where a masked killer (Saverio Percudani) hobbles around, flitting between a shackled topless woman, another lady strapped to a table and a hapless guy who's been strapped to a wall by his head. Torture and murder ensue, including a crude face removal sequence. The first five minutes manage to be equally reminiscent of THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE, ROADKILL: THE LAST DAYS OF JOHN MARTIN and even - in the hunched, awkward manner of the assailant - SEX ANDROIDE.
Yep, it's evident that something bad is lurking in a certain stretch of the Italian woods. I pity the fools who choose to go camping there. Like witless young lovers Tom (Mattia Rosellini) and Sheila (Holli Dillon), for example. A pair so arrogant that when local woodcutter Ben (David White) turns up brandishing an axe and warning of dangers in the region - "they call him Little Sister and he'll rip off your face ... don't be fooled by his name" - this pair simply laugh and get back to fucking in their tent.
Of course, their decision not to do what any sane person would do and flee, results in a world of shit descending upon their stupid shoulders.
Before long they are attacked by the aforementioned masked killer and a frantic Sheila races through the woods, only to find herself seeking sanctuary in the very barn we witnessed in the opening sequence.
All of this is tied into a past trauma involving the killer - his name is Igor - as a lad, and the ill fate that befell his father. Quite why he's given to hacking off the faces of his victims as a result? Well, that all links to his dad's terrible accident too ... and the little sister he blames for it.
MY LITTLE SISTER is shot on what looks to be cheap digital, co-directing brothers Maurizio and Roberto del Piccolo showing little in the way of visual finesse to cover up any such shortcomings.
A multi-national cast speak largely in broken English, though Ben is randomly English and Sheila is Irish without explanation. Accents are all over the place, with almost everyone else being European. Even the newspaper articles glimpsed at during the opening credits sequence are riddled with grammatical errors (if you're going to make a film in a second language, presumably catering for a certain market, then get help with the translating, perhaps?). Such lack of attention to detail further undermines the film, ensuring there are no real strengths here to distract from the openly derivative plot.
With a lacklustre, slightly silly villain and a distinct lack of tension, MY LITTLE SISTER makes 76 minutes feel like at least 2 hours. It's a chore to sit through. It's not even gory enough to recommend to unforgiving bloodhounds.
MY LITTLE SISTER comes to UK DVD courtesy of Left Films.
The film is presented uncut in a 2.35:1 ratio and is enhanced for 16x9 televisions. Colours are rather weak as a result of the cheap digital source of filming, but blacks remain stable throughout and detail is nicely defined for the most part.
2.0 and 5.1 English audio mixes are both robust affairs - the latter brings out the most from the frequent jumpy music cues.
A static main menu page leads into an animated scene selection menu giving access to the movie via 8 chapters.
Bonus features commence with a 15-minute short film entitled "The Intruder". This is a sobering affair in which a woman suffers traumatic hallucinations while pregnant. Some great eerie sound design marks this one out as a stylish but unexpectedly grim offering. Spanish with English subtitles, I actually preferred this over the main feature.
"Making of Acid Burned Face" is an 81-second behind-the-scenes featurette with FX artist Chiana Mariani, revealing some tricks of the trade which were employed to pull off one particular set-piece scene.
A 5-minute music video from Relix Horrorstoner fuses nondescript groove metal with clips from the film. The opening salvo of a female being chased through forestry while chugging Eurometal riffs play over the soundtrack seemed to me like a lo-fi take on one of Argento's PHENOMENA murder sequences.
A 5-minute interview with White follows. Looking a little like the one who from Sleaford Mods who swigs on beer bottles throughout their gigs, he has nothing but praise for the cast and crew. He does, however, moan about background noises from the village they were shooting in (tractors, church bells etc) and reveals that "most of the budget was spent on food for the sound technician".
Dillon gets 3 minutes of chat time, which is more of a talking head-style affair.
Rosellini affords us 2 minutes of his day while addressing the screen from a huge armchair.
Percudani, meanwhile, delivers what amounts to little more than an extended movie intro over the course of 90 affable seconds.
The film's 99-second trailer is forgettable.
Finally we get trailers for a slew of other titles currently available on DVD from Left Films: ABANDONED DEAD, SCARS, DEMON HUNTER. WORM, ONUS and THE HORROR NETWORK. The disc is also defaulted to open with previews for the former three.
Cheap, derivative and riddled with some unfortunate production design qualms, MY LITTLE SISTER also lacks the verve required to overcome these shortcomings and make for a mildly diverting watch. I'd only recommend this disc for the great short which is included as an extra - worth the price of admission alone.
Review by Stuart Willis
|Released by Left Films|