Flowers in the Attic (2014)
Film: Flowers in the Attic
Director: Deborah Chow
Writer: Kayla Alpert
Starring: Heather Graham, Ellen Burstyn and Kiernan Shipka
This film begins with a happy family back in the 70s. We have the mother played by Heather Graham and her husband is played by Chad Willett. The eldest child is a boy, played by Mason Dye. He has a younger sister, but not by much and she is played by Kiernan Shipka. Then there are twins, a boy played by Maxwell Kovach and his sister played by Ava Telek.
Dye is close to his mother while Shipka is close to her father. The problem though is that their father travels for business. He does bring them presents when he comes home. When he is supposed to be coming home to a surprise party, a police officer shows up instead. We learn that he has died.
Graham tries to find what she can do to pay the bills and we learn that they are going to go stay with Graham’s family. She breaks to her two eldest children that they bought everything they have on credit. They do learn that Graham’s family is rich and they will go live them with.
Shipka learns that something is wrong the closer they get. No one is coming to pick them up after they get off the train. They have to walk to the house. When they arrive there, they are looking their best despite arriving late at night. The grandmother is played by Ellen Burstyn. She brings them up to a room.
We then learn that the children will be locked in this room. We are filled in that Graham’s father has disowned his daughter and he has no idea that she has the four children. They have to stay in this room and be quiet. They do have access to the attic though where they can stretch out and play. They are required to keep the room in order and vacate it when the maids come to clean it. Their mother tells them that they should only have to stay there one night, a week at the longest. She is going to try to change the mind of her father and get them back into his will before he dies. His health is failing. She tells her children that she will reveal them as soon as that happens.
They begin to make their life in the room and the attic. There are books, toys and clothing that they can wear. Burstyn is very mean to them and calls them ‘evil spawn’, but she does bring them food. She does this once a day. The children at first do not know why she is so mean to them. The twins don’t understand why they are stuck there, but they are kept in check by their older siblings.
Their mother begins to visit them less and less, Shipka becomes more and more suspicious. Burstyn punishes the mother for not doing what she is supposed to and shows the scars on her back. It is threatened to them as well if they don’t do what they are told. Burstyn makes statements toward Shipka and Dye about them having an inappropriate relationship.
We then learn why she keeps making this statement. Willett and Graham were related by blood and they ran away together to get married. Burstyn is highly religious and feels that these children were made in an unholy union. This is also why she accuses Shipka and Dye of carrying on this tradition.
The children are in this attic much longer than they were promised. Their mother carries on and enjoys life, especially now that she is rich again. Shipka begins to believe that they will never get out. Dye still tries to think that she wouldn’t do that to them. Graham also begins to be courted by Dylan Bruce, her father’s attorney. She allows Dye and Shipka out of the attic to watch a party thrown for her in secret. While they are out they learn more than they are supposed to.
Will Graham ever reveal who they are or will they be destined to die in this attic? Will they survive their ordeal or give her the easy way out? What will happen to them?
I have to say that this is one of the most despicable things you can do to your children. It is kind of disgusting to think that their mother committed incest, but they are good children. It is horrible that she would allow them to stay up in the attic, no matter what the amount of money is. That is what makes this film great for me. I thought Burstyn was really good as the wicked grandmother as well. I do feel that the film has a rushed and condensed feeling to get as much from the book in as possible also.
This film being a Lifetime film is really hampered. I think they focused a little bit too much on the love that develops between Dye and Shipka. I also think that the acting is a little bit too corny as well. There are a lot of things that are introduced, but as I said already, they get glossed over a little too quickly and I feel that they might have made this film longer and added more to enhance this one.
This film is being added to the horror movie research due to the fact of what these children are subjected to. Locking the children in the attic to live and continue with life with them almost forgotten is horrible. To be threatened with beatings and to the teachings of God is another aspect. Also there are some things that get revealed near the end that add to this feeling even more.
I would recommend this film if you are a fan of the books. The acting for the most part is below average. Being a Lifetime movie, that is something they are known for. It is pretty corny. From what I have been told, this film does hit a lot of the major points, but lingers on things that they should move past a little bit quicker. The best thing about this film is the concept and it is a horrible thing that is done to these children. It isn’t overly long, so if this sounds good, I would say it could be worth a viewing.
My Rating: 5 out of 10