Peyton Flanders (Rebecca De Mornay) seemed to be the perfect nanny, but secretly she was out to wreck the lives of the family she was supposed to be helping. Before becoming the nanny, Peyton had a miscarriage due to the stress caused by the death of her husband, Dr. Victor Mott (John de Lancie), and blamed it on Claire (the mother, played by Annabella Sciorra),. Claire suspects nothing, having never met Peyton before. Written by
Rebecca de Mornay is the nanny from hell...scary thriller...
You have to hand it to the makers of THE HAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE--once the story starts to unravel, you have to stay tuned to find out how this manipulative bitch will get her comeuppance. It's as simple as that. We know from the start that she has evil intentions, but we never know how evil they are until she starts a series of manipulative acts that demonstrate how cunning and remorseless she is.
REBECCA de MORNAY is so convincingly evil that you have to wonder why her career didn't skyrocket after this. It's a performance worthy of award consideration, but both she and the film itself have been largely forgotten. None of the supporting players, with the exception of JULIANNE MOORE, have become household names but they're all quite effective.
The ending may be somewhat predictable--and most welcome when it finally comes--but it's still stylishly done and a satisfying conclusion to a tale of household terror when a nanny's rage goes amok because of an incident in her past involving a woman whom she perceives as ruining her husband's life. Sure, it's been done before, but never quite so cunningly presented.
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