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Joe (Alex Campbell) and his siblings have a couple of problems. First off, their stepparents are despicably evil. Secondly, they seemed to have killed them. Now this mixed up mess of half-sisters and step-brothers have to figure out how to dispose of the bodies, cover up the murders, collect their grandfather's inheritance and somehow stick together as a family -- all without getting caught. Not to mention Joe's incessant need to keep tabs on his promiscuous sister, an eye on the precocious little ones and a lustful watch on the girl next-door. Growing up has its complications. Murder's just one of them.Written by
There's a lot to love about 'Siblings' great cast, great production quality, and great premise. Just like 'Flowers In The Attic' the forbidden fruit is always the sweetest. But somehow the whole thing just never comes together. It we're teased with a recipe for a great story but never get to taste a satisfying dish.
The plot: I've read many different synopsizes online and most of them are only half right. First off, I wouldn't describe this as a "dark comedy" at all. The movie never attempts to be comically. Also I wouldn't describe the parents' deaths as "murder."
What is accurate about the plot is that this revolves around four children in a Jerry Springer style family with so many marriages, stepparents, and half blood relatives that even the kids can't figure it out. This dysfunctional family just happens to be rich living in upper class Canada.
The film opens with the with their grandfather's funeral whom had been the head of the household and the only thing keeping their drunk, snobby, and nasty stepparents in check. The kids even say, "Things are going to suck from now on."
It's obvious that this draws heavily from 'Flowers In The Attic.' Four kids trapped in a big house by their abusive family, who end up forming their own family unit with the two teens as husband and wife playing parents to the two younger kids.
The stepparents end up accidentally driving off a cliff while taking the family dog to be abandoned because they're too cheap to actually put it down.
The kids obviously attempt to cover up their deaths so they can continue living together as a family.
The setting is very interesting. It all takes place around Christmas time, smart, since Christmas and snow go so well together. The lesson here is if you are going to make a movie in Canada in July have it take place on Christmas so the snow will seem more fitting. And take down all French language product placement. (hint hint 'Dawn of the Dead' 2004.)
The musical score is a real mixed bag. 50% of the score are rock or Danny Elfman style renditions of public domain Christmas songs which add a lot the to atmosphere. However the other 50% sounds like the annoying rock scores played during Lifetime movies. As I said, a mix bag.
So there's a lot to like about this movie, such as the growing sexual tension between teens Joe and Margaret. FACE IT that's the only reason anyone even saw this movie, the false promise of forbidden romance in the trailer. Unfortunately as I said before, much of this film is just as tease. Their relationship doesn't even evolve romantically.
We're also teased about Margaret being abused by her stepfather Nicholas Campbell ('DiVinci's Inquest.') She's afraid of being molested as only her grandfather could protect her. However, DiVinci doesn't actually do anything. Hence, there's no drama and no real hatred of DiVinci. All we needed was just one scene of him coming on to her.
The plot could be interesting in dealing with the practicalities of the kids continuing their lives without anyone in the community knowing about their parents' deaths. However... most of the time is wasted on boring movie tropes about how they must go back to the crash scene and do the typical stupid things characters in movies do.
The children are all straight out of a modeling agency but that doesn't make them likable characters. The two youngest kids seem like robots. When the little girl asks Joe to take her to her Christmas pageant he responds, "What? Forget it, we're not fxxxing going!" and she doesn't even act upset.
Likewise Joe and Margaret bicker more than they have any kind of sexual tension.
So this begs the question, why are the kids doing this? If they don't get along what's the point of fighting to stay together? There's no crime to be covered up and it's already established they're going to receive their grandfather's inheritance. So just tell the police their parents are missing. The police will eventually find the accident scene and the kids can go live with other relatives, or foster homes and still cash in on their grandfather's money.
This is the type of film which had so much promise but ends up falling into all the classic movie tropes of dumb characters.
Still, it's worth a watch. There are positive elements of good film making.
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