Touted by distributor Exploitation.TV as coming from the same team responsible for THE HUNGRY HYPNOTIST, RUNAWAY SISTERS stands miles above that desultory effort, excelling by pushing the limits of grindhouse squalor to the max.
Coming to stay with their uncle while their mother is in the hospital, sisters Wendy and Suzy start getting a strange vibe almost immediately, observing that the poor guy doesn't seem the same since his wife passed away. Sure enough, it's not long before uncle rapes poor Wendy one evening while her sister is off at night school. Returning home, Suzy finds Wendy weeping on their bed and consoles her in surprising Sapphic love scene.
Deciding to run away, the two girls are picked up by a truck driver who – you guessed it – quickly gets up to the same old tricks as uncle. Bashing the guy over the head, the two escape again and finally make it to the big city, where they rent a room in a scuzzy boarding house. While the proprietress and her son seem welcoming enough at first, it soon becomes apparent they too may have some nefarious plans in store
With its unrepentant air of nihilism, RUNAWAY SISTERS recalls no less than – of all things – de Sade, chiefly THE MISFORTUNES OF VIRTUE , another tale of comely feminine innocence consistently defiled by a gleefully sadistic outside world. Like that novel (and its more famous redux, JUSTINE), SISTERS seems to derive immense glee from seeing innocence exploited, finding every opportunity to punish its heroines merely for being young, pretty and defenseless. There's not a scene in the film that doesn't feature rape or incest – usually in combination – and it speaks volumes that the film's sole consensual encounter still constitutes a taboo-busting sister-sister liaison.
Production values are crude but efficient - no fancy camera-work or editorial pyrotechnics, but everything stays well lit and in-focus, all the better to appreciate the grubby details of the squalid interiors. Acting tends toward the somnambulistic - not surprising, given English is probably most of the cast's second language - and some characters and scenes are clearly post- dubbed. Still, it all adds to the film's fractured-fairy tale quality in a way that's strangely organic and is part of what helps make it difficult to shake. You'll definitely feel like rinsing yourself off with a fire hose after seeing this one, but for those with a taste for the sick and twisted, SISTERS definitely delivers, emerging as a grubby grindhouse winner.
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