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Film / Bad Sister

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Bad Sister is a 2015 Lifetime Movie of the Week written by Barbara Kymlicka (and seemingly adapted from some adolescent Catholic schoolboy's delirious sex fantasies) and directed by Doug Campbell.

St. Adeline's, a Catholic high school in Southern California, welcomes a new teacher, a nun from Montana named Sister Sophia White (Alyshia Ochse). The young, attractive nun makes a splash at the school because of her unconventional ways. She doesn't lead her homeroom class in the morning prayer, and she lavishes quite a bit of attention on Jason Brady (Devon Werkheiser), a student who's gained a following on the Web with his music. But no one at the school is aware that Sophia is an imposter. Then she seduces Jason into a sexual relationship, frames his sister Zoe (Ryan Newman) for cheating, and gets Sara (Sloane Avery), a classmate who's also pursuing Jason, suspended from school, and things spin way out of control. Zoe decides to start digging to find out the truth about Sister Sophia.

Bad Sister contains examples of:

  • Always Identical Twins: Seemingly averted. It's never specifically stated that Jason and Zoe are fraternal twins, but since they're graduating together, it would seem to be the case.
  • Backstory: Interestingly, we don't get much of one for Sophia/Laura, just some hints in her dialogue. Apparently she has a wealthy background, was The Un-Favourite in her family, and has led a very troubled life.
  • Bad Habits: From the beginning we're aware that Sophia isn't really a nun, but an imposter who's stolen the identity of the real Sister Sophia. A later flashback spells the situation out in more detail: Laura Patterson actually went to Montana to kill Sophia so she could steal her identity.
  • Bad Liar: Sister Sophia's undoing. She mixes up two Montana cities (Billings and Missoula), then insists they're right next to each other (they're actually a five hour drive from each other, which Zoe points out), then her stories about her aunt dying in a hospice, which she uses as an excuse to leave school, are discovered to be false by the school's head nun. She's also woefully ignorant of church protocol, botching a line from the Lord's Prayer and not even knowing how to do the sign of the cross properly.
  • Brainy Brunette: Zoe, who's not only smart and a top student but is the Only Sane Girl in the story, catching onto something being wrong with Sister Sophia long before the others do.
  • Catholic School Girls Rule: The students at St. Adeline's wear uniforms, including the standard pleated skirts for girls, and resident school hottie Sara fits this stereotype well.
  • Christianity is Catholic: Set at a Catholic school run by nuns, so naturally Nuns 'n' Rosaries abound.
  • Confessional: In the movie's signature scene, Jason goes to the chapel to confess to having sex with Sophia, but Sophia is the one in the booth, and she initiates another round of sex with him in the confessional!
  • Continuity Nod: Whittendale College, the ultra-exclusive institution mentioned in a bunch of other Johnson Production Group movies made for Lifetime, is part of the story as the school Zoe is trying to get into.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: The real Sister Sophia White was murdered and Laura Patterson is impersonating her.
  • Deadly Bath: While taking a shower, Sara is startled by Sister Sophia, who murders her by bashing her head against the shower wall.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: At one point, Sophia angrily clutches her rosary, which leads the palm of her hand to start bleeding in a manner similar to stigmata.
  • Double Standard Rape: Female on Male: A rare aversion of this. Sophia's two sexual encounters with Jason arguably constitute female-on-male rape, since she intrudes on him and acts as the aggressor. While he's depicted as having enjoyed it while still feeling hugely guilty about it, the situation traumatized him enough that he can't go through with it when Sara tries to initiate sex with him at the party.
  • Dramatic Irony: The characters don't know that Sophia isn't a real nun until the climax, but the audience is made aware of it from the start.
  • Elaborate University High: St. Adeline's has a bunch of detached buildings, a big chapel, and a Mission Revival-style portico.note 
  • Evil Is Hammy: Alyshia Ochse plays Sophia to the hilt, inclduing kissing the screen of a laptop as she watches a video of Jason singing.
  • Face of an Angel, Mind of a Demon: Sister Sophia, a pleasant-looking, serene blonde woman, is a cold-blooded killer and obsessive sexual deviant.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Hormone-Addled Teenager Jason gets enticed into an obviously inappropriate relationship with a nun, while Zoe is horrified and tries to intervene.
  • Frame-Up: Sophia sticks a marijuana joint in Sara's history textbook to get her suspended from school, plants a whiskey bottle in Jason's bed, which leads to his threatened expulsion until Sophia steps in to suggest that he spend a weekend at the school to make up for it (which will allow her to finally hook up with him), and sets up a Batman Gambit to catch Zoe looking at the answer sheet of an important test (by planting the sheet in a conspicuous location in the classroom).
  • Hollywood Nuns: The nuns at St. Adeline's wear their full habits.
  • Hypocritical Humor: One darkly comic element is Sister Sophia sternly punishing Sara for her carnal interest in Jason, because, of course, Sophia secretly wants Jason for herself.
  • Irony:
    • The brand of lip gloss Sophia confiscates from Sara is called Toxic Tramp, which is a pretty good description of Sophia herself (and Sophia recognizes this enough to angrily destroy the bottle later).
    • And her misquote of the Lord's Prayer—"deliver us from the evil one"—since she's the "evil one" that the other characters need to be delivered from in this story.
    • An Ironic Name example is the villain taking on the identity of a woman named Sophia White. Sophia is Greek for "wisdom", and white is the color of purity and sanctity, and wisdom, purity and sanctity are three things she sorely lacks.
  • Lingerie Scene: Several for Sophia, including at the start where she unpacks the real Sister Sophia's very conservative undergarments, followed by her own hot red lingerie. She also strips from her habit to reveal the lingerie to seduce Jason.
  • Loony Fan: Turns out that psychotic Laura Patterson became obsessed with Jason's videos, and hatched a scheme to pose as a nun at his school, just so she could be close to him, going to the extent of traveling to Montana to murder the real Sister Sophia and take her identity upon seeing that St. Adeline's had hired her.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: The Deadly Bath murder is staged to make it look like the victim slipped on some soap.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: Sophia gets rid of Sara by murdering her while she takes a shower.
  • The Muse: Sophia's plans for Jason are to run off with him to Paris where he can write songs about her.
  • Naughty Nuns: Sophia is a beautiful young blonde who wears skimpy red lingerie under her habit, and has quite a sex drive. She manipulates Jason into becoming Hot for Preacher, but she's really not a nun.
  • Never Suicide: Jason goes to his dorm room to find Sophia passed out on his bed with an empty bottle of sleeping pills on the nightstand. He attempts CPR on her, then she kisses him. She was just testing him to see if he'd really try to save her.
  • Never Trust a Title: The title makes you think it's going to be a movie about a woman dealing with an evil sibling, rather than about a depraved woman pretending to be a nun.
  • Police Are Useless: Not shown on-screen, but apparently the cops bought the premise that Sara died by slipping in the shower and hitting her head on the wall, despite her wounds being much more consistent with someone repeatedly bashing her head.
  • Psychopathic Womanchild: Sophia is around 30 or so, but moons over Jason like a smitten schoolgirl and jealously regards the much younger Sara as a rival.
  • Really Gets Around: Sara has a reputation as the school slut.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Even as Lifetime movies go, this one is pretty extreme. To reiterate, it's about a psychotic woman who poses as a nun so she can pursue a teenage boy, has sex with him in a confessional, and the climax features two nuns getting in a fistfight!
  • Sacrificial Lamb: The real Sister Sophia, who only appears in one flashback scene where she gets whacked (in both senses of the term) by Laura Patterson.
  • Sacrificial Lion: "Sophia" is caught off-guard when Sara is allowed to return to school, so she murders Sara.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Spiritual Successor: Very similar to the earlier Lifetime movie Dirty Teacher, from the same director, writer and production company.
  • Stern Nun: Sophia gets this repuation because of her hardass treatment of Sara, but she's actually targeting her to eliminate her as a rival for Jason's affections.
  • Tap on the Head: How the real Sophia was murdered, and also used at the climax on Sister Rebecca.
  • Villain Protagonist: The story revolves around dangerous psycho Sophia.
  • Wild Teen Party: Sara hosts one and tries to seduce Jason at it.