The infamous Lizzie Borden story, wherein the thirtysomething society woman brutally murdered her parents with an ax, gets the indie film treatment here, and it’s an impressively layered thriller that registers a lot of suspense and pathos despite the familiarity of its story. Chloe Sevigny gives one of her most effective performances in the title role, bringing a severity and enigmatism to the role, and she’s well supported by an excellent Kristen Stewart, who does some extraordinary work as the family maid who gets involved with Lizzie. There’s a lot of chemistry between the two actresses, and they’re surrounded by first-rate supporting performances by Jamey Sheridan and Denis O’Hare. More than half of the movie is set in the Borden house, and director Craig William Macneill makes tremendous use of the limited space, allowing the viewer to feel Lizzie’s oppression and desperation, and the movie benefits from an effectively unnerving score.
Rating: ★★★★ (out of 5)