My Netflix Queue: ‘The Sisterhood of Night’ is not just an independent film about sketchy teenage girls

It’s not. I promise.

But let’s be honest: all teenagers are sketchy, in some way, shape, or form, myself included.

The Sisterhood of Night is, in a way, a modern-day “Salem Witch Trials.” Rumors spread, no one will dispute them, and chaos ensues with dire consequences.

The sisterhood starts out with Mary Warren, Catherine Huang, and Lavinia Hall. Mary acts as a leader of sorts, but it’s established pretty early that the sisterhood doesn’t have any intention of being hierarchical; it’s just perceived to be that way.

These original three carefully handpick girls to join the sisterhood. As they scout for new members, people take notice. Girls are hanging on edge, hoping that Mary finds them worthy of the sisterhood. Anonymity surrounds the sisterhood, an eclectic bunch of girls who gather in the night. No one knows what they do; they hardly know where they go. It’s understandable for that kind of shady behavior to give way to rumors.

Enter Emily Parris, a girl decisively rejected by Mary with no foreseeable way into the sisterhood. Emily has a blog with a stable following, and she prays to God every day to be popular. And what other way to skyrocket your popularity than to find dirt on those more popular than you.

Emily starts rumors about the sisterhood being a cult of witches who make sacrifices to the devil at their nightly gatherings. Living in a small town, these kinds of rumors aren’t shaken easily, especially when girls come forward to support such rumors, ushering in paranoia about the sisterhood. What worsens the situation is that the sisterhood doesn’t defend itself. The girls uphold their code of silence, even at the risk of their suspension and the sisterhood’s dissolution.

The pressure between the girls’ silence and the rest of the community’s desire for clear answers causes full-blown hysteria and unwarranted attack against the sisterhood, bringing the story to its disastrous climax.

It’s only after a painful loss that Emily Parris admits that the rumors she spread about the sisterhood were straight up lies. That’s when we learn that the sisterhood was made to be a safe haven, a place in which the girls could confide in one another knowing that their secrets and concerns would be kept safe within the group.

And that’s the key to this film. It’s not just about sketchy teenage girls–it’s about a desire to be heard and a desire to have privacy.

Today’s culture encourages the sharing of and access to all different types of information, personal or not. However, it often can often become a competition of who’s better or a shout into the void. No one gets properly heard or understood, and yet, we have to know everything about them in order to accept them.

Yeah, sketchy behavior is sketchy. But is it too horrible to let people off the hook sometimes and try to be more understanding? Can we all agree that it’s uncomfortable to be observed only to be judged by others? Can’t we agree that it’s okay that some people want to keep things in confidence, that some chapters are best left unread, and that those unread chapters don’t define a person? A little faith and a little mercy can go a long way, even so far as to save a life.

So you have my vow of silence.

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