Lizzie Borden Took an Ax

05/23/2017 16:41

Film: Lizzie Borden Took an Ax

Year: 2014

Director: Nick Gomez

Writer: Stephan Kay

Starring: Christina Ricci, Clea DuVall and Gregg Henry



This film begins with Christina Ricci eating a pear. She is making eyes at a man across the way. She goes into the nearby house and enters a room, finding her father dead. His face has been beaten in by something. She screams and the screen goes black.

Ricci has an older sister played by Clea DuVall. Their father is played by Stephen McHattie. He is married to their stepmother, who is played by Sara Botsford. All four of them go to church. McHattie speaks with some churchgoers and we learn that he is a tough man. McHattie makes a comment that if God loved him, he would have grandchildren.

We really get a good look at this family and how they live a simple life. It turns out that McHattie has become quite wealthy from his business endeavors. He is very tight with his money and doesn’t like to spend it. Ricci wants to be the life of the party and likes to go to social gatherings. The family does have a maid played by Hannah Anderson.

Ricci steals money from her stepmother’s purse and goes to a local store. She picks out a new dress for a party that is coming up. She tries to buy it on credit, but the woman states to her that Botsford has cut that off. She has to pay now or cannot take it. She does produce the money she stole. She also puts a hand mirror into her bag without paying for it.

DuVall comes to her room later telling her that father is upset about the mirror being stolen. He comes into the room and yells at her, telling her that she is not going to the party she wants to. Ricci tries to convince him to let her go, but he will not be swayed. There is an awkward moment where she tries to almost seduce him.

Ricci does sneak out that night and goes to the party. Her family does not learn about this. Soon after we see what we did earlier in the film. DuVall goes to visit a friend and Ricci discovers her father is dead and she screams. Anderson comes in and has a similar reaction.

A police officer played by Shawn Doyle heads the investigation. During this, it is also discovered that Botsford is dead upstairs. Doyle asks Ricci about her dress and a stain that is at the bottom of it. Ricci tells him that it is an old stain from a stew. He believes her.

The rest of the town doesn’t believe her though. Gregg Henry plays the district attorney and he is out to prove she did this. Her lawyer is played by Billy Campbell. He was on retainer with her father and that means he is Ricci’s lawyer as well. He takes on the case to prove her innocence.

DuVall stands her sister, but there are things she does that make her question that. There is a point where Henry tells Ricci he wants her to bring the dress to him that she wore that day. Ricci burns it that night. Henry then presses charges and there will be a trial.

There really is no hard evidence against Ricci, just a lot of circumstantial things that Henry needs to convince the jury of. Ricci has done some questionable things that make her look guilty, but can Henry prove it or will Campbell be able to put enough doubt in the jury?

I have to say that the best part of this film is the historical accuracy. I knew the basic story of the film, but didn’t know the specifics. I thought some of things that happened were farfetched in this film, but did some research to learn that the film is accurate to the facts. I think Ricci does a solid performance. DuVall and McHattie are solid as well. I think Henry does a great job as the DA who wants to win this case. I’m not sure how intense they were in the past about winning, but I think he plays a great adversary for Ricci, but technically he is the good guy.

My biggest problem with this film is that I think Ricci is completely miscast as Lizzie Borden. I have seen pictures of Lizzie and she is not very attractive. I don’t find Ricci to be gorgeous, but I do think she is pretty. The other big problem I had with this film is that is a Lifetime movie. As stated above, it does well at following the facts, but like most films made by them, it falls a little flat on actual entertainment value.

This film has been added to the horror film research, because this is a very real murder that took place. The ferocity of the crimes and the rage that the person who committed them had was a big reason it was included. This is film isn’t scary, but the subject matter is.

I wouldn’t recommend seeing this one, unless you are interested in the Borden murders. I would recommend this as well if you like Lifetime films. If not, then definitely avoid this one as it is somewhat boring. As stated above, Ricci does well as the title character, but personally feel she is miscast. There is some good acting, there is a good historical story, and it just is more about the facts than it is about making it enjoyable.


My Rating: 5 out of 10