Hey gang, Valkor here. With summer at an end, we're less than four months away from closing out 2014 and ringing in a new year. I have to say, 2013 has been pretty good to me, especially on the media side. Sure I've had my share of favorites, but I've definitely sat through my share of stinkers. And speaking of which, have a look at this next entry, which will definitely make it on most critics "worst of" pile. The film is called Lizzie, while it pulls an actual crime from the past into the mix, overall it doesn't make much sense. Check it out.
Lizzie begins with a poetic narration describing the incident of Lizzie Borden and according to Wikipedia:
Lizzie Andrew Borden (July 19, 1860 – June 1, 1927) was an American woman who was tried and acquitted in the 1892 axe murders of her father and stepmother (Andrew Jackson Borden and Abby Durfee Gray Borden, Andrew's second wife) in Fall River, Massachusetts. The case was a cause célèbre throughout the United States. Following her release from the prison in which she had been held during the trial, Borden chose to remain a resident of Fall River, Massachusetts, for the rest of her life, despite facing significant ostracism. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts elected to charge no one else with the murder of Andrew and Abby Borden; speculation about the crimes continues into the 21st century.
After the narration, we jump right into the film, which centers on… well Lizzie Allen (Amanda Baker), who just moved into her childhood home with her boyfriend Jason (Leif Holt). It's not really a picture-perfect moment as during the process of moving in the place, Lizzie starts having these crazy dreams, feeling rather tense, and hallucinating. It doesn't help that she stopped taking her prescribed meds. And what's worse, when she starts taking them again she mixes them with alcohol (constantly), including the stronger meds prescribed by her doctor (Corbin Bernsen). This causes something of a rift between her and Jason as the two start to grow apart from one another. And as the story progresses, whatever is going on in Lizzie's mental world is growing stronger and stronger. And it's only towards the end that we realize that the actual spirit of famed murder (who was acquitted), Lizzie Borden, is actually haunting the house, which is also the place where she lived and murdered her father (played by Gary Busey)… who murdered her stepmother… who tried to kill Father Borden because he had just raped the maid. And she's looking to repeat her crime with the new inhabitants.
So what's the connection between Lizzie Borden and Lizzie Allen? There's no relation, only the house is the true connection. However as a child, Lizzie Allen witnessed the brutal murder of her father by her mother. And it's a past that Lizzie (Allen) refuses to face – it even gave her amnesia. So you get flashbacks of Allen as a child and at the end, everything's pieced together of what had actually happened in her home and the similarities between the murder of Lizzie Borden's father, Allen's father, and the present characters of this film. Yup everyone dies and Allen ultimately kills herself, taking a bullet to the head. Only at the end of her childhood flashback, she reawakens with a smile.
Confused? Yea, so was I sitting through this piece of Schmidt. Oh and to Gary Busey and Corbin Bernsen, who make cameo appearances in this film, they must have been the tastiest sandwiches to get you guys to appear in this. I know a man's gotta eat, but daaaaaaaamn!
Suspenseful, riveting, explosive, mind blowing, thrilling, jarring – this film is none of these! If I do an actual "worst films of 2013" list, this would get top honors as THE WORST FILM I have EVER SAT THROUGH (and I've sat through some pretty twisted, off the wall shit). And I mean it's laughably bad! First of all, the film is confusing about what direction it wants to go. Is it a thriller? Is it a horror? I wasn't exactly certain as I was neither thrilled nor horrified. But let me clarify even further. Lizzie (Allen) is constantly mixing alcohol with her meds – meds with symptoms that include nightmares, confusion, anxiety, all that shit (including death). So I wasn't exactly sure if all that was happening to her was in her head caused by the mix of drugs and booze or is the house actually haunted (of course we learn later the house is haunted). Stepping out of the film world, we know that in reality, mixing booze and drugs is bad. And considering Allen can't go a scene without taking a drink and popping pills, in my mind, I thought the whole situation was in her head, which really messes with the main plot of the film because as the viewer you're constantly asking a) why does she keep doing it? And b) what does any of this have to do with Lizzie Borden? Which brings me to my next point, there's no clear connection with the backstory of Lizzie Borden. And if the creators of this film had excluded it, leaving the reason for the haunting being all in Allen's head mixed with her witnessing the murder of her father as a child, then I might have actually enjoyed the film more. Maybe. Instead we get a bunch of scenes haphazardly clumped together that go absolutely nowhere and creating way more confusion than tension. In short, the film makes zero sense. Next, there's a plot device that confuses me and I wonder why it was even included – the nailed up basement door. At first it seemed important, this creepy, eerie, door of mystery that no one can open. But then it's sorta pushed to the side until the end. And even when it's opened, nothing really happens that couldn't have happened anyway if the door had not been opened at all. So why was there a need to put focus on the locked up door in the first place, if the end results are the same regardless? Finally the acting is beyond bad, with Amanda Baker taking the lead. There's this scene where she's in the middle of the house yelling in this high-pitched squeal "who is it?" at the top of her lungs at someone, who turns out was the cable guy (played by Gerry Bednob). And that dialogue between the two of them? HA! The fuck was that? It looked as though they were improvising… badly. But yea, the acting is pretty terrible in this one.
Sticking with the scene between Baker and Bednob; after it's revealed it was the cable guy outside, she lets the guy in wearing only a tank top and panties (bowchickabowow!) Lizzie asked why the guy didn't answer when she was yelling and to which he responds "it's because of his tunes" pointing to the headphones around his neck. And as she walks away to guide him towards the television, he makes these weird sounds with this weird face. Pic below very related.
Mama Borden's face. Woooooo! She got hacked to shit!
Lizzie hits the shelves on September 10th. And don't let the box art fool you, there's nothing at all impressive about this film. But if you're truly curious, then wait until it hits Netflix or other digital service that way it doesn't become an investment you're stuck with. And out of TOV 5 stars... well Lizzie DVD gets a big fat zero.