“Lizzie” Reveals the Hidden Desire Behind the Famous Murders

The murders of Andrew and Abby Borden were among the biggest scandals of the 19th Century. Though Andrew's daughter Lizzie was the prime suspect, she was acquitted and lived in the same town until she died of pneumonia at age 66.

But if she did murder them, what would cause a seemingly normal young woman (32 at the time) to go off and separately kill her parents with an ax? The new thriller Lizzie speculates she was harboring a secret that would have ignited controversy in the small town.

Popularized by mystery writer Ed McBain, the film follows the theory that Lizzie (Chloe Sevigny) was having an affair with the family's maid Bridget (Kristen Stewart), and when her parents discovered and disapproved, she hacked them up. It also weaves in the popular theory that her father (Jamey Sheridan) was an oppressive, abusive man who had his way with whomever he wanted.

Craig William McNeil (The Boy) moves into a more sophisticated brand of horror, directing a script from Bryce Kass (the TV movie Outlaw Prophet). It earned solid reviews at Sundance, and the cast also includes Kim Dickens (Fear the Walking Dead), Fiona Shaw (the Harry Potter series) and Denis O'Hare (American Horror Story).

Lizzie opens in limited release on Friday, September 14.


About Kip Mooney

Kip Mooney
Like many film critics born during and after the 1980s, my hero is Roger Ebert. The man was already the best critic in the nation when he won the Pulitzer in 1975, but his indomitable spirit during and after his recent battle with cancer keeps me coming back to read not only his reviews but his insightful commentary on the everyday. But enough about a guy you know a lot about. I knew I was going to be a film critic—some would say a snob—in middle school, when I had to voraciously defend my position that The Royal Tenenbaums was only a million times better than Adam Sandler’s remake of Mr. Deeds. From then on, I would seek out Wes Anderson’s films and avoid Sandler’s like the plague. Still, I like to think of myself as a populist, and I’ll be just as likely to see the next superhero movie as the next Sundance sensation. The thing I most deplore in a movie is laziness. I’d much rather see movies with big ambitions try and fail than movies with no ambitions succeed at simply existing. I’m also a big advocate of fun-bad movies like The Room and most of Nicolas Cage’s work. In the past, I’ve written for The Dallas Morning News and the North Texas Daily, which I edited for a semester. I also contributed to Dallas-based Pegasus News, which in the circle of life, is now part of The Dallas Morning News, where I got my big break in 2007. Eventually, I’d love to write and talk about film full-time, but until that’s a viable career option, I work as an auditor for Wells Fargo. I hope to one day meet my hero, go to the Toronto International Film Festival, and compete on Jeopardy. Until then, I’m excited to share my love of film with you.

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