Television Reviews

Secrets Cannot Be Buried In Hulu’s THE SISTER

With a dark secret threatening to be unearthed, a man will do whatever he can to hide the truth from his family. Adapted from series writer Neil Cross‘ novel, The Sister is an intriguing psychological thriller that switches up the usual murder-mystery concept. With a nonlinear story and a dash of the supernatural, this miniseries will undoubtedly keep you guessing.

For some time, Nathan (Russell Tovey) has been hiding something truly disturbing from his wife Holly (Amrita Acharia), revolving around the disappearance of her sister Elise. Though years have passed, it has continued to weigh heavy on Holly, as she still searches for answers.

One night, an old acquaintance of Nathan’s named Bob (Bertie Carvel), shows up on his doorstep fearing their secret will come to light. As an afterlife-enthusiast, Bob stresses to Nathan that he’s been seeing and hearing who he believes is Elise; that she’s haunting him. As Nathan struggles with what he should do next, and how to best shield Holly from it, he’ll unravel something much darker than he ever imagined.

The Sister has a strong premise, one that reveals itself in an unexpected way. While you’re essentially given the big reveal in the first part, it develops upon the mystery in a unique way, offering a different layer to the suspense. The way everything falls into place, makes the four-episode series very consuming to watch. The final part, building some great tension that will have you on the edge of your seat.

One element I found most interesting was the inclusion of the supernatural. While there are some ominous moments here and there, it doesn’t lean so far into those tropes to feel that it’s a “ghost story”. That uncertainty adds something to the psychology of the series, and though you’re not clear where those elements really fit, it eventually comes full circle.

My one major complaint would be that I didn’t feel the story needed four parts. I think it would have fared better as a film, allowing some of the unnecessary filler to be removed; and polishing the story a bit. On a more petty level, I found its editing to need some fine-tuning for its new home on Hulu. There are many cuts to what would typically be commercials, that felt a bit out of place and cheapened some moments. I find that to sometimes be frustrating when a series shifts from a network to a streaming service.

With those little annoyances aside, The Sister certainly does the part in offering a compelling psychological thriller. I found myself eager to watch the next part and was rather surprised by its little twist in the end. You can catch The Sister for yourself, premiering on Hulu this Friday, January 22.

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