After the death of her husband, a mother takes her kids off to live with their grandparents in a huge, decrepit old mansion. However, the kids are kept hidden in a room just below the attic, visited only by the grandmother, and their mother, who becomes less and less concerned about them and their failing health, and more concerned about herself and the inheritance she plans to win back from her dying father, to the point of murder...Written by
David Gibson <email@example.com>
According to Jeffrey Bloom, production of the movie was very unhappy directorial experience because of difference in opinion between him, seven different producers and two studios that were involved in the film, all of which had different ideas and wanted a different movie. Because of this and studio forced cuts during post production after bad test screening, version of the movie that was released is not Bloom's original intended director's cut. See more »
Very obvious wig on Cathy as she gets a haircut from Chris in the bathroom. See more »
This movie has one of the strangest, classic climactic lines of any movie I've seen, with the old, dependable, wrap everything up in 15 seconds endings.
I haven't read the book this is based on, but have to ask why readers find the theme of incest more appropriate in print than in a movie. The plot revolves around a seemingly perfect family, two parents, four children (all of them unrealistically beautiful)and their happy life - until the father dies. Instantly, they are destitute and all of their furniture is respossessed. Why is it that every B movie follows the theme of instant poverty when someone dies? Apparantly, concepts like having life insurance, owning furniture, etc, don't apply in filmland. Whenever tragedy strikes in a film, we discover that every house is double-mortgaged to the hilt. Maybe this is a subtle comment on American consumerism. Mother's only recourse after this turn of events is to take her children back to her relatives she has alienated by marrying her own uncle. She actually encourages her children to sleep in the same bed, as if "normalizing" her own act of incest by perpetuating it in her children who don't know any better. Naturally, the relatives are evil and twisted, and lock the children in the attic, and we discover that mother is definitely from the same family stock. There are too many reviews that give a blow by blow description of the plot for me to repeat them, but my main observation is that this is a typical copout "provocative" movie, with a sicker-than-usual theme; it "alludes" to incest, without actually confronting it, which causes the story to fall between the cracks in a bad way. It becomes irrelevant to the story, and there isn't much of a story here to begin with. Either the incest theme should have been eliminated entirely, or dealt with frankly. Instead, we are shown scenes of brother washing his sister's back in the tub, undressing in front of each other, etc. Sex is never shown, though it is left up to our imaginations whether they are actually in a sexual relationship or just never taught that brothers and sisters don't undress in front of each other. The only thing that works is the way the characters don't know that what they are doing is wrong, in fact are innocent to the implications. The movie tries to have its cake and eat it too, i.e. imply incest and then chicken out, but gives us insulting implied scenes as if we are being nudged in the ribs by a pervert in the local porn shop, only not as subtle. Implying incest without confronting it in an honest way makes us feel as if we are being manipulated into having perverted fantasies about these characters ourselves, which is the most disgusting aspect of this film, and is my biggest problem with it. An intelligent script could have dealt with incest in a psychological way, as we understand these characters' relations with each other, and eliminated all the sudsy bath sequences (which true pervs will be dissappointed in, as they don't actually show anything) that makes us feel like we are peeking in someone's bathroom window.
An intelligent script would also deal with the idea of family betrayal (by the mother) in an intelligent way; but this isn't an intelligent script. It relies entirely on atmosphere and images of betrayal, which don't work or are extremely heavy-handed. This is a very depressing movie about depressing ideas, depressingly presented. Only the final line "Eat the cookie, mother!" gives it a surreal hilarity for a moment.
The saddest part of this movie is that the actors are all very good; but they are completely wasted, because the script and direction isn't there to support them. Four out of ten stars.
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