Craig William Macneill directed the first season of Channel Zero that I loved so much, Candle Cove. I wish I could say the same for his latest movie, this exploration of the life of Lizzie Borden starring Chloë Sevigny as Lizzie and Kristen Stewart as her lover and maid Bridget “Maggie” Sullivan.
Lizzie is a 32-year-old unmarried woman, which makes her an old maid in 1892. Her father dominates her life and she’s sickly, but she has a new friend, an Irish immigrant named Bridget Sullivan who has come to work as a servant in the rich Borden household.
Threats are left at the door of the house, as many in the town are jealous of Lizzie’s father and the way he takes land. He informs a family member, Uncle John, that the girls are to get none of the money from the estate upon his death. Lizzie attempts to sell all of the family’s jewelry but is caught and her beloved pigeons are hacked to bits by her father’s axe.
The bond between Bridget and Lizzie grows after the death of the servant’s mother and the discovery that Mr. Borden is abusing her. Finally, her father catches the two making love in the barn and forbids their relationship.
You know what happens next: axe mayhem. But what should have happened was both girls committing the murders. Only Lizzie completed hers and she comes back to kill her father in front of Bridget. The two are separated by the court case and never see one another again.
I wanted to like this way more than I ended up enjoying it. Then again, I love the 1975 made-for-TV movie The Legend of Lizzie Borden, which this is nowhere near.
You can watch Lizzie on Shudder.