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.