Flowers In The Attic

Flowers In The Attic

Armoni McNeill

If you’re going to make a movie about four children who are locked in their room for years because their grandfather can’t know they’re alive, the last thing you want to do is play it straight. Unfortunately, that’s the only way Lifetime knows how to play it.

The network’s adaptation of “Flowers in the Attic,” V. C. Andrews’s best-selling 1979 novel about bad parenting, whips and the love that dare not take a DNA test, is  a movie of the week, plopping off the assembly line with a little more gothic atmosphere than usual and some expensive accessories. These consist of Heather Graham, Ellen Burstyn and Kiernan Shipka, who goes from playing an unhappy daughter in “Mad Men” to playing a really unhappy daughter here.

As you watch, Ms. Graham takes her four children to live with her rich, whack-job parents after the death of her husband, and you see the children imprisoned in the upper floors while Corrine disappears for increasingly long periods, the only reasonable response is: Why? The heroine, the nubile young Cathy, asks it herself: “Why are we still here?” Why indeed, especially after they figure out how to rappel down the side of the house, and after her brother Christopher copies the master key.

While Cathy has her doubts about the plan, Christopher sides with his mother and insists they won’t be shut-ins for long. But things only deteriorate from there as Corrine starts abandoning them for long stretches of time and Olivia reveals herself as a pious monster, constantly tormenting the children about their “wicked” sexual desires and punishing them for imaginary sins that slowly become a reality.

In conclusion, if you are looking for a movie to watch on a cold rainy day, definitely watch Flowers in the Attic!