With an opening scene reminiscent of late nineties candy-hued cult classic ‘Jawbreaker’, which sees a bitchy high school trio led by the enigmatic Rose McGowan throw their BFF into the trunk of a car for a birthday prank, The Sinners by director Courtney Paige feels promising. Setting the scene for a teen slasher with a religious twist we flashback to the clique of seven catholic schoolgirls who are somewhat notorious: collectively known by their rather on the nose nickname, ‘The Sins’.

Each girl, quite perfectly, lives up to their moniker, with outsider and all-round good girl ‘Pride’ played by Brenna Llwellyn causing friction within the group. After a bible study gone awry, Pride falls out with the rest of The Sins and the girls one-by-one start to go missing. Is Pride seeking revenge or have The Sins’ interest in the occult and devilish chants caught up with them?

Reminiscent of The Craft, Jawbreaker, Scream and a hint of Mean Girls to boot, this teen thriller is ambitious and whilst it falters in places and is at times reductive, it is still for the most part enjoyable. The Sinners attempts to fill the void left behind by the teen horrors from the nineties and early noughties, and whilst it has a similar vibe it lacks some of the humour that gleans over the cheesiness of teen-centric dialogue. Similarly to the aforementioned Jawbreaker, The Craft and even Mean Girls, The Sinners tap into the toxicity that female friendships can create and how those power struggles within the group dynamic can have deadly consequences.

The storyline feels a little busy and at times feels better suited to a Netflix original limited series rather than a feature length film. As a teen melodrama, the characters may have more plausibility and would perhaps go down well with fans of the Sabrina the Teenage Witch reboot, American Horror Story and the like. It’s dark, sassy, and sexy but not gratuitously so. This may be a hit with younger audiences but perhaps lacks the depth for mature audiences and despite its religious slant also lacks any true elements of horror, securing its spot in the thriller category. Not one for true horror fans who are looking for gore and blood spatter, but an interesting dive into female friendship that would probably be better suited to a long form series.

Arrow Video Frightfest Review: The Sinners
3.0Overall Score
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About The Author

Emily is from South London and has a degree in English Literature. Emily is a marketing assistant who writes about films and music in her spare time. Horror and grindhouse are her thing - although she will happily watch anything if it means a trip to the cinema.