Submitted by Julio M

Contrary to the 1987 version, where the movie’s plot differed heavily from V.C. Andrews’ original novel and sugarcoated -or omitted- crucial points, this version was more faithful to its controversial literary source.

Short pooper:
Corrine (Heather Graham) plotted, all along, to get rid of her four children so she could inherit the family fortune, and did it by poisoning the doughnuts they received daily with their meal. Little Cory (Maxwell Kovach) dies from it. The surviving siblings stand up to Grandma Olivia (Ellen Burstyn) -who tearfully admits what Corrine did- and flee the mansion, but do not get to confront Corrine because she had already married Bart (Dylan Bruce) and left Foxworth Hall.

Longer version:
While they are all imprisoned in Foxworth’s Hall attic -an imprisonment that extends for years-, Corrine progressively neglects her children Chris (Mason Dye), Cathy (Kiernan Shipka) and twins Carrie (Ava Telek) and Cory, to the point of not coming to see them at all, while they look withered and malnourished; when she finally does, she joyfully announces having gotten married to Bart and been away for honeymoon, to which they react resentfully. Shortly after, Olivia -who, from the beginning, had treated the kids like the enemy, for the perceived “sins of their mother”- starts bringing them doughnuts with powdered sugar on top, as “a gift from their mother”.

One day, after an incident in which Olivia physically attacks Chris and leaves him badly bruised, Cathy tends to him, concerned that she might lose him, to which he reassures her otherwise and -despite being biological brothers- they kiss. Later, Chris puts up an act about “begging for forgiveness for being the devil’s spawn”, so that he could obtain a soap copy of the attic’s key and carve it out of wood, which allows them all to roam freely, in secret, around the rest of the mansion. In doing so, they are able to sneak money away from their mother so they could finance their eventual escape. One of those nights, Cathy sees Bart while sleeping and impulsively kisses him; Chris overhears, afterwards, Corrine and Bart discussing this as “a dream he had” and argues with Cathy about it; their argument deflates when she swears it was nothing and they kiss passionately and end up having sex.

Cory shows signs of getting progressively ill, which Carrie brings to everyone’s attention. Chris demands Olivia and an indifferent Corrine to do something about it. Cory is taken away, only for Corrine to return later and inform the others, to their shock and sadness, that “he died of pneumonia and nothing could be done about it”. This moves Chris to convince the girls to gather everything they could and make their escape, during which they discover Corrine and Bart were long gone, Grandpa (Beau Daniels) had died months ago and -from an eavesdropped conversation between two staff members- “Olivia had been poisoning mice in the attic”-. When Carrie produces Cory’s pet mouse dead from having eaten from one of the doughnuts, Chris figures out the poison was contained in the powdered sugar.

Olivia comes across them and a confrontation ensues; Chris restrains her while the girls run for it. Her claustrophobia paralyzes her when Chris shuts the door and the lights off and she tearfully admits, upon Chris furiously questioning her, that it was all Corrine’s idea, not her own. She hopelessly watches them escape. On their way out, they find John, the butler (Andrew Kavadas), who recognizes them and disables the electric fence for them. The movie ends with the three surviving siblings on a train to Florida, Chris assuring they will now be alright and Cathy swearing one day she will get her revenge at Corrine.

01 hours 29 minutes