After the premiere on August 19, 2022, Sharon Horgan’s new darkly comedic thriller, Bad Sisters, has drawn solid reviews for it blend of heartfelt pathos with caustic wit. The Apple+ series follows five sisters in Ireland who band together following the death of their parents and conspire to murder one of the sibling’s abusive husbands. When things don’t go as planned, the sisters must stick together and figure out a way to remain out of legal trouble while keeping their familial bonds intact.
For fans of Bad Sisters looking for a similar blend of mystery, murder, dark humor, and other sibling stories sure to intrigue, these movies and TV shows combine several genres to create an unforgettably unique experience.
Also known as The Out-Laws, Clan is the Belgian TV series from which Bad Sisters was adapted by Sharon Horgan. If for no other reason than a fascinating side-by-side comparison, fans should definitely check out the riveting source material as it lays the foundational groundwork of the central sibling mystery and bitingly dark comedy that sets it apart from many other murder mysteries.
Clan traces five female sisters whose close bonds fray when one of them marries the odious Jean-Claude, a bullying louse who makes everyone’s life miserable. To get rid of the problem, four of the sisters conspire to kill Jean-Claude, leading to a wickedly disturbing and hilariously unpredictable series of events that proves that blood is indeed thicker than water.
While less overtly comedic, the acclaimed HBO original series, Big Little Lies, boasts nearly the exact same reverse murder-mystery plot as Bad Sisters. Rather than siblings related by blood, the story follows a group of sister-like best friends who come together to console Celeste (Nicole Kidman) following the abuse at the hands of her husband Perry (Alexander Skarsgard) and the lethal consequences that result.
While the show has its moments of levity, Big Little Lies offers a profoundly necessary glimpse at the horrors of domestic abuse, the harmful butterfly effect it causes throughout the family, and how unhealed physical and emotional scars can have devastating ramifications with or without the help of close family members to lean on. Bad Sisters plays the premise for laughs, while Big Little Lies plays it for leeriness.
Swap out the mordant humor for soapy romance and Bad Sisters fans will arrive at the feet of Pretty Little Liars, an irresistibly dark and devious thriller revolving around a quartet of best friends who will do anything to protect each other and the secrets they harbor regarding the missing friend.
While the show is less about domestic abuse and marital bullying, there’s no denying the strong sisterly bonds the four girls forge as they work together for the common goal of ensuring their friend’s safety and well-being. Perhaps most telling, both Bad Sisters and Pretty Little Liars manage to somewhat spoof the genre they also participate in, giving each a clever self-reflexive tone and tenor that go a long way toward their entertainment value.
For fans of Bad Sisters who want completely different scenery, check into The White Lotus ASAP. The lavish Hawaiian resort is the setting of a murder mystery, marital abuse, and a wickedly dark sense of humor from Mike White, the unforgettable combination of which culminates in the kind of absurd lunacy featured in the new Apple+ series.
Much like Bad Sisters, viewers are told a murder has taken place to begin the series and then the story’s told in reverse through flashbacks. Moreover, Eva’s (Horgan) abusive marriage to John Paul (Claes Bang) is reminiscent of Shane’s (Jake Lacy) and Rachel’s (Alexandra Daddario) problematic union and the murderous fallout that ensues. But more than anything, it’s the scathingly dark humor that elevates both shows while reinforcing the sacrifices family members make to protect their own.
While it may have little to do with sibling vengeance, omitting the most-viewed Hulu original TV comedy would be unwise for Bad Sisters fans who enjoy the humorous whodunit premise. Indeed, Only Murders in the Building also revolves around a mysterious death introduced in the pilot, where a trio of tenants who love the same true-crime podcast comes together to indulge their paranoid theories and prove the death was a murder.
Armed with the towering comedic talents of Steve Martin and Martin Short, the series has been praised for its playful spin on the whodunit conceit, joining Bad Sisters as an irreverent take on an age-old formula that toys with convention, defies expectation, and delivers lighthearted laughs with genuinely hard-to-crack cases.
The most germane movie to watch along with Bad Sisters includes Crimes of the Heart, Bruce Beresford’s acclaimed black comedy adapted from the Pulitzer Prize-winning stage play. The movie follows the three McGrath sisters who reunite to find answers regarding their mother’s apparent suicide after one of them shoots their husband, opening old scars and new wounds in the process.
With outstanding performances by Oscar-winners Diane Keaton, Jessica Lange, and Sissy Spacek, Crimes of the Heart fuses heartfelt family drama with character-driven comedy that toes the line between parody and melodrama in ways sure to resonate with Bad Sisters fans.
Known for fusing mordant humor with morbid crime drama better than most, the Coen Brothers’ infinitely rewatchable movie Fargo and its TV spinoff are ideal to watch alongside Bad Sisters, especially when it comes to family criminal plots backfiring in wildly amusing ways. The spousal abuse involves Jerry Lundegaard (William H. Macy) hiring two bumbling criminals to kidnap his wife in order to blackmail ransom money from her wealthy father.
Like Bad Sisters, Fargo slowly unravels to reveal a quirky character-driven story of Marge Gunderson (Frances McDormand), her husband Norm, and their unborn baby, using a distinct geographic landscape to mine a brilliant blend of crime and comedy. Uproariously violent and highly unpredictable, the tonal blend of Bad Sisters and Fargo is simpatico indeed.
Those particularly drawn to the Irish sensibilities of Bad Sisters need to see In Bruges, Martin McDonagh’s wickedly dark crime comedy about a pair of hitmen in hiding. Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson shine as Ray and Ken, two guilt-ridden Irish assassins who are ordered to hide in Belgium and wait for their boss’ orders, leading to deep introspection and a Kafkaesque nightmare that couldn’t be more amusing.
As Ray and Ken visit the city’s landmarks to stay out of trouble, their plans backfire in a gloriously violent yet hilarious unforeseen fashion, forcing them to lean on each other like brothers upon facing their frightening superior. Scathingly funny yet saliently familiar, In Bruges and Bad Sisters are surprisingly humanistic dramas masquerading as crime comedies.
Master movie director George Miller’s The Witches of Eastwick instantly comes to mind when watching Bad Sisters. Starring Cher, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Susan Sarandon, the story follows three single sister-like best friends when the literal Devil (Jack Nicholson) arrives in town and tries to seduce them with abusive bullying, and misogynistic behavior that backfires in balefully satisfying ways.
While it bends into the supernatural, The Witches of Eastwick shares a lot with Bad Sisters in what it says about female empowerment, sisterhood, and fighting back against the patriarchy, themes of which revolve around a hellish revenge plot that relies on dark humor and immense star power to entertain.
When it comes to a grand murder mystery of a dysfunctional family that brings several family members together in cuttingly hilarious ways, Rian Johnson’s Knives Out is hard to beat. Daniel Craig leads a droll A-list ensemble in a knotty whodunit that finds a wealthy patriarch’s murder loaded with familial motives, conniving relatives, and a playfully irreverent spin on the tried-and-true formula.
Beyond the murder-mystery-in-reverse framing of the plot, Knives Out and Bad Sisters both manage to lampoon the very subgenre they partake in, subverting expectations through caustic comedy along the way while making trenchant statements on the erosive dynamics of family dysfunction. In both cases, being bad has never felt so good!
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