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Film / The Sisterhood of Night

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The Sisterhood of Night is a 2014 drama film directed by Caryn Waechter and starring Georgia Henley and Kara Hayward. It's based on a 1999 short story by Steven Millhauser.

The film focuses on the hysteria that engulfs a small town when teenager Emily Parris accuses the popular Mary Warren and the secret society she leads of engaging in witchcraft, sexual abuse and secret rituals. The suspicion deepens as more and more accusations pile up and each of the accused girls upholds a Vow of Silence, refusing to discuss what they do in the woods at night.

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The Sisterhood of Night contains examples of:

  • Attention Whore: Emily. One of the first things she does is steal Mary's phone and publishes all of Mary's texts on her blog to get back at her for ruining her school play audition and get sympathy. Then, when she isn't allowed to join the Secret Circle of Secrets lead by the girl she stole from, she makes up a lie to get back at them.
  • Cult: The Sisterhood is accused of being one in the news media based on the accusations made against them.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Emily makes up claims that the Sisterhood engages in ritual molestation and witchcraft due to Mary not allowing her into the group. Then her friends back it up.
  • Driven to Suicide: Lavinia deliberately overdoses with pills after she's publicly forced to confess that the Sisterhood practices witchcraft and humiliated.
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  • Easily Forgiven: Mary forgives Emily very easily at the end when she admits her accusations were lies, and even lets her into the Sisterhood.
  • False Rape Accusation: First Emily, then friends of hers claim the Sisterhood had ritually molested them. She starts to feel bad about this after it causes some real victims to come forward when they're inspired by her.
  • Girl Posse: The Sisterhood practically worship Mary and do whatever she wants, even when they disagree or it makes them uncomfortable. Subverted, though, in that they are all genuine friends to one another.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: After Lavinia kills herself once she is coerced to confess, Emily admits the accusations were fake out of guilt and begs for forgiveness.
  • Satanic Panic: Emily accuses the girls of sexual molestation and witchcraft because Mary wouldn't let her into the group. It unleashes a panic that gets on the news, and Lavinia is forced to confess, then commits suicide.
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  • Secret Circle of Secrets: The Sisterhood. Turns out to be literally the case when it's revealed that the Sisterhood simply meets to exchange secrets they don't feel they can tell anyone about, and then to burn the paper they wrote their secrets down on.
  • Snowball Lie: Once Emily makes her accusations, some friends do too, until it blows up into twenty three supposed victims coming forward.
  • Witch Hunt: What the accusations against the Sisterhood turn into.
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