Based on Jack Ketchum’s book, which is based on the real life murder of Sylvia Likens, this realistic horror flick suffers more depending on what you take into it. The more you know about the real life story the film’s exaggerations seem gratuitous. If you’ve seen the film AN AMERICAN CRIME, which is based more directly on the real story, you’ll find the acting in this film lacking. But the biggest problem with the film is Gregory Wilson’s voyeuristic direction, which makes the audience uncomfortable in all the wrong ways.
Following the death of their parents, Meg (Blythe Auffarth, KEEPING THE FAITH) and Susan Loughlin (Madeline Taylor, JOHN ADAMS) go to live with their Aunt Ruth (Blanche Baker, SIXTEEN CANDLES), who has too many kids of her own to handle. She rules over Meg like a warden, severely punishing her for any presumed offense. Meg does everything she can to deflect the abuse away from her sickly little sister. Eventually Ruth chains Meg up in the basement subjecting her to continuous torture, including branding and rape. She encourages her own children and the neighbor kids to join in.