V. C. Andrews novel of incestuous relationships and confined childhood always has been a superb candidate for a film treatment, but director Jeffrey Bloom has taken this narrative and squeezed the life from it. Performances are as stiff and dreary as the attic these children are imprisoned in. The ridiculous ending (different from the book) was one of several shot.
After her husband’s death, Corinne (Victoria Tennant) takes the family – teenagers Chris (Jeb Stuart Adams) and Cathy (Kristy Swanson) and pre-adolescent twins Carrie (Lindsay Parker) and Cory (Ben Ganger) – and becomes golddigger deluxe, moving back to her parents’ house, intent on getting reinstated into her father’s will.
Kids aren’t crazy about the arrangement after meeting their sadistic, bible-toting, taskmaster grandmother (Louise Fletcher, doing a lot with this one-dimensional role) and getting locked into a guest room, where they are informed they must stay until their grandfather dies, so Tennant can win his affections.
Cathy and Chris’ gradual mutual attraction has been excised and is only hinted at here. More problematic is the script, which attributes none of the qualities of teenagers to the teens and portrays the younger children as mindless drones.