One of the best things about Lifetime movies — and this is said in the most affectionate, loving way possible — is their low-budget crappiness. So imagine the shock after watching Christina Ricci in the historical thriller/courtroom drama “Lizzie Borden Took an Ax” and realizing that it was actually pretty good! No caveat required, no guilty pleasure tag needed.
The movie took on the infamous 1890s trial of young New England woman Lizzie Borden, who was accused of murdering her father and stepmother with an ax (hence the title), and was later acquitted.
Lifetime has a knack for attracting top-tier talent for what often ends up being silly little movies, but “Lizzie Borden” seemed different — everyone was having a lot of fun without getting too over-the-top campy. The script was soapy enough without getting too melodramatic, and the costumes were fun and period-reminiscent, but not too high-maintenance.
The great performances, combined with some excellent editing (erotic, slow-mo ax murder inserts notwithstanding) and a fun, modern-feeling rock soundtrack made “Lizzie Borden” more than your run-of-the-mill period piece and more than your run-of-the-mill dramatic Lifetime tale.
It was legitimately good, not just Lifetime good. (Again, that is a loving term.) It’s almost a new category of Lifetime movie — there’s the cheesy/terrible good, like “Untouchable: The Drew Peterson Story,” the inspirational, like the upcoming “Gaby Douglas Story,” and the cheesy/terrible bad, like the incredibly disappointing Lindsay Lohan comeback vehicle, “Liz and Dick.”
“Lizzie Borden” was fun, enjoyable, a little shocking, and overall well-made — bravo, Lifetime!
What did you think of “Lizzie Borden Took an Ax”?