The Sinners follows seven girls from a very conservative Christian town, who decide to rebel by embodying the nickname given to them by many at their high school… ‘The Sinners’ for the seven deadly sins.
From director and writer Courtney Paige, comes this horror thriller story about a group of high school girls, who must decide what to do when one of their group betrays them. They decide to ‘teach her a lesson’ through a prank. As you might guess, the prank spirals out of control whereby each member of the ‘Sinners’ group become the target of an unknown killer.
Grace/Lust (Kaitlyn Bernard) is the pastor’s daughter who also happens to be most popular girl in school. She is the stereotypical mean girl who is complicated by what her parents preach (pun intended) versus what she feels… especially towards her friend Tori/Wrath (Brenna Coates).
As Grace realizes the prank on Aubrey/Pride (Brenna Llewellyn) has gone extremely wrong, she and Tori panic as Katie/Greed (Keilani Elizabeth Rose), Robyn/Sloth (Natalie Malaika), Molly/Gluttony (Carli Fawcett), and Stacy/Envy (Jasmine Randhawa) start to go missing.
Amidst the thriller aspect of the films with the girls rebelling against their local society, then going missing, The Sinners does addresss some relevant things for teenage girls and for young people, in general. For instance, the idea that sexuality and sexual orientation are still taboo in this day and age. Elements against misogyny, stereotyped gender roles, and the patriarchy are also at play in this film, which I think work to an extent. You will have to watch the film to know what I mean.
Paige decides to include side stories for supporting town characters. This helps move the plot along in the whodunnit aspect. It even had me guessing who the guilty party might be in this whole mess of disappearances.
There is also a bit of comedic relief by the use of the peripheral characters but also introducing the cops from the big city (Michael Eklund and Lochlyn Munro) to ‘help’ the local sheriff (Aleks Paunovic) solve these cases. These three characters are well known in the Canadian genre scene, so it is always good to see them work.
As aforementioned halfway through the film, I began to suspect different male characters of being guilty for the crimes. I like when films keep me guessing. However, some scenes that seem out of place and some cringe-worthy lines did not work for me. As well, the last part of the film lost part of my attention with too many twists and turns. I understand why they were done; we see the end result and it sort of works. However, they took something away from the film’s flow for me.
Are aspects of The Sinners too stereotypical of its genre? Sure. Would I have liked to see a more diverse cast? Of course. Horror thriller films need to expand and continue to grow. Nonetheless, The Sinners has other things to offer aside the Jawbreaker and Cruel Intentions like plot. For starters, the great cinematography by Stirling Bancroft; as well as, the work of composer Holly Amber Church whose atmospheric score complements the film quite well. Two of my favourite aspects of the film, actually.
I would be remiss not to mention the cast of seven young actors who embody their individual sins very well. I particularly enjoyed Bernard and Coates’ performances as the story unravels. It is apparent Paige and cast had good rapport in order to bring this story to life.
I suggest grabbing your favourite snack and taking a detour to watch The Sinners. The film is currently available on digital and VOD.