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TV Movie Review: “Lizzie Borden Took an Ax” Features a Spine-Chilling Performance by Christina Ricci

“Lizzie Borden took an axe, and gave her mother forty whacks. When she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one.”

We’ve all heard the infamous skipping rhyme many times that was based on the true story of the girl who allegedly killed both her parents gruesomely with an ax. Well now, Lifetime has taken the bleak tale and turned it into one of their highly anticipated TV movies.

Starring Christina Ricci in one of her most disturbing roles yet.  She gives an unforgettable performance in an otherwise tedious film.  For those of you who don’t know the story of Lizzie Borden, she was an American woman who was tried and acquitted in 1892 for the axe murders of her father and stepmother in Fall River, Massachusetts.  There were other theories that surfaced trying to explain who might have killed Lizzie’s parents.  But with no one else being as strong or as likely of a suspect, the murders of Andrew and Abby Borden still remain a mystery.  Heavy speculations about the crimes still continue today.  However, it is clear that director Nick Gomez has made up his mind about who the murderer is.

The story itself is an interesting one.  But when told through a made for television movie, it can be pretty boring.  Lifetime tends to do a good job with respecting the known facts of any true story they turn into film.  This is great for accuracy, but not always engaging enough for audiences.  Luckily, “Lizzie Borden Took an Ax” is less than half an hour long.  But even the short running time doesn’t make this film any more exciting.

The film starts off well.  We get thrown into to the murders fairly quickly, but not before we get a good amount of character development from the Borden family.  It is once the murders have happened that this film starts to go down hill.  Trying to hook the audience back in with as many random bloody axing shots, the film still has trouble trying to stay entertaining.  By this point, the audience knows all the facts and the end results.  It just becomes a matter of how the movie will handle the ending.  The last 35 minutes is a repetitive mess.  The film throws in various shots of unexplained scenes with never before scene characters.  In an effort to explain other possible scenarios, this sequence becomes confusing and a bit of tease.  Some of those shots would have been fun to watch had they fully played out, even if they were just theoretical.

What I can not complain about is the haunting performance Ricci gives as an unhinged, Lizzie Borden.  Ricci, no surprise, shines in this film.  From her creepy head tilts, to her untrusting wide eyes, she nailed this potentially dreadful role.  As long as she is on the screen, you will be kept amused until the unexpected and satisfying ending.  With all the information the filmmakers knew, they handled the end scene in the best way I could imagine; tasteful, realistic, and eerie.  No matter how you feel getting through “Lizzie Borden Took an Ax,” you will be content with the acting and conclusion.

“Lizzie Borden Took an Ax” premieres on Lifetime January 25th at 8PM ET/PT.

Originally posted on RedCarpetCrash.com

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