This new film, based on a haunting short story by Steven Millhauser (whose work was previously adapted for the screen in THE ILLUSIONIST starring Edward Norton), opens this Friday April 10th. Created by writing-directing team Marilyn Fu and Caryn Waechter, THE SISTERHOOD OF NIGHT is the story of a group of teenage girls who decide to withdraw from the social intrigue of their school and community, and create a secret club that meets in the woods at night. Rumors of rituals, witchcraft and the occult start to spread, and accusations soon follow.
The adaptation is slightly different from the short story, which was written almost two decades ago, but explores the world of social media and the problem of cyber-bullying, which makes it suitably relevant and contemporary. I admit to being utterly captivated by this story for years. I used to teach it in my creative writing classes, having students adapt it for film (a difficult challenge since the story contains no actual dialogue). I even considered adapting it for the screen myself. It’s written in a compelling style that utilizes point of view narration in a powerful and unique way, and it also creates strong parallels with the Salem Witch Trials narrative. The witchcraft in the story is more metaphysical than actual: and the similarities to Salem have to do with rumors, ego, jealousy and cruelty. I’ll be very interested to see how much of the original story’s vibe is preserved in this cinematic version.