Lifetime is reinventing itself. Or at least, it's reinventing the made-for-T.V. movies that were once its bread and butter. In a move that seemingly tipped its hat to the campy theatrics that its viewers craved, last week it aired a hotly-anticipated version of V.C. Andrews' Flowers in the Attic. This week, it brought A-List star power with its dramatic chronicle of the one of the most infamous 'innocent' murderesses of our time, Lizzie Borden.
May I present, Lizzie Borden Took an Axe. You know who was FLAWLESS? Christina Ricci. This sort of tortured gamine is the type of role Ricci was born to play. She was mesmerizing, playing Borden as the repressed, enigmatic, woman kept close at home by a father who tormented and terrorized her emotionally. The movie didn't try to make any crazy twists -- it didn't present any new theories, or suggest that like, Lizzie was helped by Zombie vampires -- in fact, the movie's strengths lay in everything you didn't see.
There's plenty of gore, but that's almost secondary. It reminded me of Psycho -- Ricci's character is much more about deeply rooted pathos than killing sprees. The film shows Lizzie carefully arranging her face before seemingly CHOOSING to scream for help. Her mental state is underlined by the totally modern (and AWESOME) soundtrack. You're in her head-space with her. The film definitely implies that Lizzie is behind the crimes, but by the movie's end you're so enthralled with Lizzie (and Ricci's big, hypnotic gaze) that the last thing you want to do is call anything she might say or do into question. Even those closest to her feel the same way. She's a bad, scary lady -- but she's also fascinating.
It's this fascination that's made Borden a source of interest for so many people since the time of the crime and well beyond. For pete's sake, her house is now a bed & breakfast (where me and my ghost fascination would kill slash be terrified to stay). The movie isn't a celebration of the crime, but of the lasting impression the story made on the country. I'm sure -- because this is Lifetime -- that they'll be airing it again and soon. If you missed it the first time, do yourself a favor and tune in: You'll be surprised and impressed.
What did you think of the movie?
Image via Lifetime