5 Reasons to watch Lifetime’s ‘Lizzie Borden Took An Ax’

Clea DuVall as Emma Borden, Sara Botsford as Abby Borden, Christina Ricci as Lizzie Borden and Stephen McHattie as Andrew Borden in LIZZIE BORDEN TOOK AN AXE (Image Credit: Chris Reardon/Lifetime)
Clea DuVall as Emma Borden, Sara Botsford as Abby Borden, Christina Ricci as Lizzie Borden and Stephen McHattie as Andrew Borden in LIZZIE BORDEN TOOK AN AXE (Image Credit: Chris Reardon/Lifetime)

Lizzie Borden took an ax and gave her mother forty whacks…

Ah, but the tale of Ms. Borden is much more than a simple nursery rhyme. Lifetime is bringing the true story of how Lizzie Borden may have murdered her parents in the summer of 1892 with several blows of an ax to the head, a crime for which she was later acquitted, to life once again in Lizzie Borden Took An Ax. And leading the cast is the ever-enthralling Christina Ricci as Lizzie.

But if you’re skeptical of tuning into a made-for-TV film based on one of the most scandalous and shocking murder tales in American history, here are a few reasons to possibly sway your decision towards picking up the remote.

Clea DuVall as Emma Borden.

Most recently of Argo and American Horror Story: Asylum fame (although her acting resumé in no way begins there), DuVall brings a sort of honest heartbreak to the role of Emma Borden, the older sister of Lizzie. She embodies a believability as Emma that really makes you understand what kind of situation she sits in the middle of, stuck between the faith she has in her sister and the growing amount of evidence showing that Lizzie just may have killed their parents.

The house party.

Lizzie sneaks out to a house party about 10 minutes into the film, and it’s the first real hint we’re given that Lizzie Borden Took An Ax isn’t going to be another typical historical film. Red lights cover a dancing crowd, swaying to alternative rock (although that’s strictly for the audience’s benefit. I’m sure the dancers are listening to “Swing, Kelly, Swing.”) and sassing it up like many modern day teens would. When one party-goer snidely remarks on Lizzie being a Sunday School teacher, Lizzie simply replies, “Only on Sundays.”

Christina Ricci as an ax murderer.

Ricci already has a haunted look about her, with incredibly defined facial features and large, expressive eyes, but give her a role where she’s meant to portray a woman who could very well have brutally murdered her parents with an ax, and she becomes downright frightening. Ricci brings to life the cunning and calculated persona needed to play Lizzie, and it’s enough to make chills run down your spine.

Did she, or did she not?

Going into the movie, you expect to never really second guess your belief that Lizzie Borden really did murder her parents that summer morning. But give the film time, and you won’t know what to think. The constant conflict of evidence, confessions and occurrences will leave you guessing until the very end. It’s a mystery you’ll be dying to solve.

And speaking of ends…

The last 10 minutes.

For a made-for-TV movie, Lizzie Borden Took An Ax has a delightfully creepy ending. Obviously, this is spoiler free, but the performances delivered by both Ricci and DuVall, as well as the shocking imagery and final reveal of just how Lifetime chose to end Lizzie’s story makes for a delightful and chilling finale. And of course, no ending is truly complete without singing children.

Let us know if you’re as excited as we were to check out this newest adaption of the Lizzie Borden story in the comments below!

Lizzie Borden Took An Ax will premiere on Lifetime Jan. 25 at 8/7c.

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I'm a book-addicted, TV-obsessed, Ohio University Bobcat for life who majored in smoothie consumption, Netflix and, oh yeah, journalism.

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