PERFECT SISTERS comes from a real-life crime that stunned Toronto in 2003, when two teenage girls murdered their mother and were emotionally and intellectually oblivious enough to brag about it to their classmates and on the Internet. This cheaply made 2014 production shifts the story to the US, and softens a number of the details for storytelling purposes.
Oddball tonal choices, some slipshod casting decisions (the cop with the eyepatch?—please) and a chintzy look work against it (director Stanley M. Brooks came from second-rate made-for-television movies). Film doesn’t have anything like the power of Rivers Edge or Elephant, and has been unfavorably compared to Heavenly Creatures. The ending is rushed; the story would have been better served by lengthening from its 98 minutes.
Still, some of the writing is decent, with the patter among the girls and their clique coming off naturally. The four lead performances are quite good. Abigail Breslin and Georgie Henley (the former child stars here 18 and 19, respectively) put over their messed-up plotters (victims of the mothers alcoholism and her choices of abusive partners, according to the script) quite well. Mira Sorvino (where have you been?) does a touching job as the hapless, hopeless mom, and James Russo again shows that he can play an utterly disgusting creep as good as anyone in the business. With Rusty Schwimmer, Zoe Belkin, Jeffrey Ballard and Stephen James. The coda, what happened with the pair afterwards, is outrageous.