Lifetime's faithful adaptation of "Flowers in the Attic," based on V.C. Andrews's hit 1979 novel, is shockingly understated, as much as a story involving incest, poison, and Heather Graham's bloody back can be understated. It's not the extreme campiness that a lot of people were expecting, which is a compliment to the cast. Kiernan Shipka was pretty much born to play Cathy Dollanganger a growing girl who makes the most out of being trapped in an attic with her handsome brother Chris (Mason Dye) and their two younger siblings (Ava Telek and Maxwell Kovach). Heather Graham and Ellen Burstyn bring dimension to their demented monster moms. "Flowers" isn't a disastrous guilty pleasure à la "Liz & Dick," but it's worth obsessing over in the good way.
Let's take a walk through the key moments in Dollanganger/Foxworth family history:
A widowed mother of four frets about her ability to provide for her children. "Look at me. I'm an ornament. The only thing I was ever good at was being pretty." Best. Mommy. Everrr.
You can't say that Corrine didn't warn her children. She cautions, "Some mothers are impossible to love. They don't act like mothers at all." What she doesn't say is that she is even worse than her mother.
Meet Grandmother Foxworth, who locks the children up so that their grandfather won't know they exist. She brings a food basket once a day. Mommy swears it will all be worth it because she is going to inherit lots of money when Grandfather Foxworth dies.
Mommy was bad. So Grandmother beat Mommy. Like any good prison warden, Grandmother then uses her daughter's back to scare the children.
Smack! The cycle of abuse continues as Corrine lashes out at Chris for sneaking out to check out the house during a party.
The first bra is a full-on family affair when you live in close quarters. Between their religious grandmother constantly accusing them of being in a relationship, their mother's 12-second sex talk, and their changing bodies, the sexual tension is starting to get to Chris and Cathy.
Corrine's defense ("I'm their mother. I'm the only person that truly loves them") after abandoning her children while they are locked up in an attic would not hold up in any court of law ever.
This is what happens when you sequester siblings with raging hormones and tell them that their parents are related.
"We are the devil's spawn!" Christopher shouts, pretending to seek the Lord's forgiveness when he really just wants to copy Grandmother's key to prepare for an escape.
Just a couple of kids dreaming of a future in Florida.
Mommy slaps Cathy!
Cathy slaps Mommy!
Grandmother is just brushing her hair.
Three of four Dollanganger children survive their imprisonment in the attic. And Cathy can't leave it all behind without signing the calendar she created. Cathy was here.
Money can't buy you grandchildren. The end.
What did you think of Lifetime's "Flowers in the Attic" movie? Will you be watching the network's upcoming sequel, "Petals on the Wind"? Let us know in the comments below.