What Lisa Watched This Afternoon #121: If There Be Thorns (dir by Nancy Savoca)


This afternoon, as I wrote my review of Text To Kill, I was also watching another Lifetime original film.  If There Be Thorns had been taking up space on my DVR for a week and I finally had time to watch it!

heather-graham-if-there-be-thornsWhy Was I Watching It?

If There Be Thorns originally aired last Sunday but I missed it because I was busy celebrating Easter with my family.  However, I made sure to set the DVR because If There Be Thorns is the second sequel to one of my favorite Lifetime films of all time, Flowers in the Attic.  The first sequel — Petals in the Wind — wasn’t that good.  So, I was curious to see whether or not If There Be Thorns would be an improvement.

What Was It About?

Many years have passed since the end of Petals In The Wind.  Christopher (Jason Lewis) and Cathy (Rachel Carpani) Dollanganger are now married and going by the name of Sheffield. In many ways, Christopher and Cathy seem to be living the perfect life.  They’re in love.  They’ve got two sons, Jory (Jedidiah Goodacre) and Bart (Mason Cook).  Chris is a doctor.  Cathy is a ballet teacher.  And nobody is aware that Cathy and Christopher are actually brother and sister and that they spent several of their formative years locked in an attic together.

Strangely enough, however, Cathy and Chris happen to live next door to the remains of their former prison, Foxworth Hall.  Bart even breaks into Foxworth Hall and finds the magazine that so intrigued Cathy and Chris when they were teenagers.

Eventually, a mysterious woman moves into Foxworth Hall and starts trying to ingratiate herself with Jory and especially Bart.  What Chris and Cathy don’t know is that the woman is none other than their mother, Corrine (Heather Graham).  When Corrine’s creepy servant John Amos (MacKenzie Gray) gives Bart the diary of his puritanical grandfather, Bart starts to go insane and even tries to kill his adopted sister, Cindy.  Meanwhile, Corrine seeks forgiveness for her past sins, Cathy and Chris continue to obsess over the attic, and John Amos … well, John Amos just wants to kill everyone.

What Worked?

Oh my God, this movie is insane!  As opposed to the slow-moving and bland Petals on the Wind, If There Be Thorns was a return to the over-the-top style that made Flowers In The Attic so much fun to watch.  This is one of those films that you just watch with your mouth open, wondering just how much more messed up one family can get.  Director Nancy Savoca brought a flair for the surreal to the film and Heather Graham did a good job bringing Corrine to eccentric life.

A special mention should be made of actor MacKenzie Gray, who gave a wonderfully menacing performance as the hulking John Amos.  It was a great performance, one that was perfectly right for the film’s baroque style.

What Did Not Work?

Who would have thought that, after everything they had been through, Cathy and Chris would grow up to be such boring people?  Hopefully, they’ll be more exciting in the fourth film in the series, Seeds of Yesterday.

“Oh my God!  Just like me!” Moments

There really weren’t any.  I don’t do attics.  But that’s okay — it was still an entertainingly weird film!

Lessons Learned

The sins of the past cannot be escaped.  (Especially if you insist on living right next door to the place where all those sins happened in the first place…)

4 responses to “What Lisa Watched This Afternoon #121: If There Be Thorns (dir by Nancy Savoca)

  1. Pingback: Adventures in Cleaning Out The DVR: Seeds of Yesterday (dir by Shawn Ku) | Through the Shattered Lens

  2. Pingback: 2015 in Review: The Best of Lifetime | Through the Shattered Lens

  3. Pingback: Cleaning Out The DVR #3: My Sweet Audrina (dir by Mike Rohl) | Through the Shattered Lens

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