This is a great film! Although the acting is a bit rough for a few characters I found myself drawn into the story line. We have Danielle Breton (Margot Kidder) has a one-night stand with a black TV-game show player. The morning after, he is killed by Danielle's psycho twin sister, Dominique Blanchion. But Grace Collier (Jennifer Salt), an aspiring journalist, sees everything from her flat across the street. Things get even uglier when the journalist starts following Danielle and his strange ex-husband, Dr. Emil Breton (De Palma perennial weirdo Bill Finley). What dark secret lies behind this murder? Uh? Of course, nobody really seems to care about the plot - De Palma plays the genre rules, twisting every second with his split screen techniques and neat suspense touches. There is a "dream" sequence, some blood, a hideous scar, drugs and a birthday cake.
Sure, the movie owes more than a passing nod to Psycho (Collector's Edition) and Rear Window (Collector's Edition)specifically, but De Palma's exhilarating use of that split-screen technique as well as Margot Kidder's creepy performance add up to a genuinely frightening experience. The "peeping tom" opening is brilliant. The humor doesn't lessen the shock, but rather enhances it by keeping the audience continually caught off guard. He takes the most vulnerable and receptive of human reactions--laughter, fear, and anticipation--and pushes them to their extremes until the audience is caught up in giddy bewilderment. You don't know what the director is going to pull next, so you can't prepare yourself.
De Palma is nothing if not a visceral filmmaker, and in his comfort with the comic and the horrific, he resembles Roman Polanski more than he does Hitchcock. Taking into consideration their mutually varied filmographies and how they've been received, it seems a more apt comparison. The one major difference is that Polanski has a deep sense of the tragic, and almost always ends on that note. Not so much De Palma. In the final scene in Sisters, we find Charles Durning's private dick, who had all but disappeared from the movie, high up on a telephone pole dressed as an electrician, dutifully watching a couch through a pair of binoculars. The movie is over in every way--the blood has been shed, the mystery has been solved, and the suspense is gone--except that it apparently isn't. De Palma wants to leave us with something else. So we have Durning waiting to see who comes to get the couch. This could well be that Shock Recovery Period that the movie posters promoted. This was another great film that was highly recommended by Chris and the one only #1 Depalma fan R.A. Bean which I greatly enjoyed.