It looks like the Lifetime network has done great justice with its film adaptation of the perversely creepy 1979 novel Flowers in the Attic.
According to People Magazine, the film adaptation and the novel are equally absurd, yet “psychologically coherent,” as both versions of the dark fairy tale contain the same substance and storyline.
The story is narrated by the character Cathy Dollanganger who is portrayed by Mad Men’s Kiernan Shipka. The narrative starts with Cathy, her brother, Christopher (Mason Dye), and their younger twin siblings, Cory and Carrie living a life of suburban contentment.
The children have a wonderful childhood with their strikingly attractive parents Christopher Sr. and Corrine, portrayed by Heather Graham.
However, the family’s life of happiness takes a devastating turn when their father is killed in a car accident. The bizarre turn of events happens so fast, it gives the illusion as though they’ve fallen under a curse.
Without the income of their father, their mother falls on financially hard times, as their lifestyle was secured with an installment plan. With no other choice, she turns to her estranged mother Olivia Foxworth, portrayed by Ellen Burstyn.
As a last resort, she and her children relocate to the Foxworth mansion in Virginia. The children immediately grasp that they’re “not in Kansas anymore,” as their grandmother blatantly expresses her disdain from the moment they come in contact with her. They are immediately shipped off to an isolated wing of the house to live in the attic, and are ordered to follow a “Don’t List” that only allows breathing.
The children are left in isolation without their mother. Corrine spends the majority of her time under the stairs with her ailing father begging his forgiveness. However, you’ll have to watch the film to know what she seeks his reprieve for. The “why” factor, on the other hand, is relatively simple. She wants to be reinstated in his will, as a means of taking care of her children away from the clutches of her family.
Although she assures the children their stay will only last a few days. Unfortunately, days roll into years and the children are trapped in their desolate dwelling. As Cathy and Chris reach their teenage years, the tale which started out as a tale of a destroyed childhood, transforms into a whirlwind that tips the edge of insanity.
While the Lifetime visual is far less explicit than the original accounts of Andrews’ novel, it still maintains that eerie delusional fairy-tale enamor with a glint of evil, “doll-like” imagery.
The film’s executive producer Michele Weiss recently sat down in an exclusive interview with Hollywood Reporter to share her sentiments of the tale. As an avid lover of the Andrews’ Dollanganger Series, Weiss expressed the importance of “staying true to the book” with the film adaptation. “We tried to be very true to the plot of the book although we had to add some stuff in because it’s a movie, it’s all about action,” Weiss explained.
The world premiere of Flowers in the Attic is tonight at 8:00 p.m. ET on Lifetime.