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A teenage girl and her father driving cross-country become stranded when their car runs out of gas in a remote Nevada desert town and they're forced to stay in a dilapidated trailer park where a serial killer lurks.
Ivy ('Drew Barrymore'), a sexy teen who lives with her aunt, moves in with a reclusive teen (Gilbert) and slowly works her way into the lives of her adopted family. The mother (Ladd) is sickly and can't sexually satisfy her husband (Skerritt) any more, and to the daughter's horror, Ivy begins seducing her father. Written by
Ed Sutton <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Drew Barrymore turns in the most memorable performance of her career, in this strange, beautifully filmed tale of betrayal and teenage alienation. The introverted Sylvie meets the mysterious Ivy at the posh private school they attend, and become fast friends. It seems Sylvie idolizes Ivy just a bit, for her beauty and fearless, outgoing style. And Ivy, coming from a broken home, begins to envy Sylvies life, as Sylvie lives in a gorgeous home, and has a mother and father who care deeply for her. The tale is more sad than suspenseful, and this is more of a teen drama than 'an erotic thriller. The friendship that develops between the two girls is done in a very believable way, and it is sad when things begin to go wrong, and it becomes clear that Ivy has some deep emotional problems. The plot here is not so original, but so many elements elevate 'Poison ivy' above other films of this type. The acting all around is impressive; Cheryl Ladd is beautifully fragile as the sick, bed-ridden mother, and the relationship that develops between her and her daughter's mysterious friend is touching, as the two look very similar. It is obvious that when 'Georgie' looks at 'Ivy' she is reminded of her own youth, and her own days of being wild. And this is how the connection develops between the mother and Ivy. The daughter unfortunately is unable to connect with her own mom, as the two are so different. 'Gerorgie,' like Ivy, is blond, pretty, and glamorous, while Sylvie is mousy-haired and wears glasses. This causes immediate, but subtle tension between the two girls from the outset. Tom Skeritt is perfect as the brooding, wounded husband, who feels abandoned by a wife who has given up on living. This fact makes him easy prey for Ivy as well, whose desire to become a part of this family soon escalates to a disturbing level. Sara Gilbert is likewise perfectly cast as the shy but intelligent Sylvie. So much attention is paid to small details, which is so important with films of this sort. Ivy's tattoo, which turns out to be fake, and the Egyptian eye that is shaved into Sylvie's scalp, gives these characters depth. The film possesses a strong, atmospheric tone, and Ivy's strange, childlike sexuality has an almost hypnotic quality about it. The background music as well, is lush, and darkly romantic. And many scenes are absolute eye candy, and truly erotic. Among them, the scene where Tom Skeritt's character 'takes' Ivy on the hood of his Mercedes in the forest, while the rain pours down and that haunting melody plays; classic. And the film succeeds in being erotic without being very graphic, and this is not easy to accomplish. I was lucky to see this in the theater, and was happy to find the DVD, which contains both versions of the movie, the theatrical, 'R' rated version, and a slightly more graphic unrated edition. There were some sequels to this, that were released straight to video, and are, not surprisingly, terrible exploitation trash that has nothing to do with this legitimate film. 'Poison Ivy" is an above average 'teen angst' film, and deals effectively with it's subject matter. Recommended, especially for fans of Drew Barrymore. Fans who are only familiar with her more recent films will be amazed at how great she is, and how amazing she looks, in this very special film.
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