Runtime: 87 minutes
Release Date: January 25, 2014
Director: Nick Gomez
Despite my Christina Ricci loving roommate renting this when it first came out on DVD and me having it in my Netflix queue for months, it took a rainy Saturday and the house to myself for me to actually sit down and watch it. All I can say is that I'm shocked this led to Lifetime doing a whole show about Lizzie Borden.
Lizzie Borden Took an Ax wants you to believe that Lizzie was just a young lady with a frisky spirit, or at least in the very beginning. Despite the fact that people in town view both she and her sister as spinsters, Lizzie has a ton of friends and a bit of a teenage attitude. She's not above sneaking out of the house to hang out and drink with her friends, and when she learns that her stepmother cut off her line of credit a a dress shop, she simply steals what she wants.
Oh, and let's not forget that she clearly has an incestuous relationship going on with her father. Despite there being no evidence or even any rumors of insect, she's constantly touching her father in inappropriate ways, bringing up the fact that he always wears the ring she gave him, and acting more like his girlfriend than his daughter. Honestly though, if Stephen McHattie was around me, I'd probably have a hard time keeping my hands to myself too!
After some backstory, we finally cut to the infamous day. Lizzie screams from her father's office and tells the maid that someone killed him. While talking to the police, she mentions her stepmother and how someone should check on her, which leads to the police finding her dead too. Though there is very little evidence in the case, the police arrest her and put her on trial. They dig up things like how she bought rat poison and her family later got sick and how she despised her stepmother, but the jury finds her innocent and sends her home.
Then, in a scene that makes it clear Lifetime considered this a one time thing, Lizzie confesses to her sister that it was her all along! Gasp, the horror!
Lizzie Borden Took an Ax was bad, even for a Lifetime movie. It felt like whoever wrote the film only knew the basics of the story and decided to make up a bunch of stuff to fit what he/she wanted. Christina Ricci, who is usually so much better, plays Lizzie like some teenage girl who wants to rebel against her parents by drinking and hanging out with a guy from the wrong side of the tracks. It doesn't help that Ricci is incredibly skinny in this movie. Seeing all of her bones poking through her skin was the creepiest part of the movie. Clea Duvall, who I also love, was just wasted her. As Lizzie's sister Emma, she does nothing more than stand around in the background, occasionally voice her doubts, and then do nothing.
Lizzie Borden Took an Ax is just another bad made for television movie based off a real story that spent too much time focusing on fictional things than dealing with the actual story. I'd love someone to do a similar story but actually do a good job.