Remake Rumble: Flowers In The Attic (1987) vs Flowers In The Attic (2014)

The 411: This psychological thriller, based on the popular 1979 V.C. Andrews novel of the same name, focuses on the four Dollanganger children and their mother who find themselves having to move into their wealthy grandparents estate after their father dies suddenly. Once at their grandmother’s house the children are imprisoned in the attic which is just the start of the cruel treatment they receive from the religiously fanatical old woman.


Cathy (Kristy Swanson) vs Cathy (Kiernan Shipka)

Watching the original FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC recently I was shocked to see that Kristy Swanson was a full blown woman when the movie was made and she was a horrible actress. There was no chance to show any of the confusion and awakening of Cathy’s sexuality and womanhood because she already had the body of a woman. And the acting…my memories of Swanson as an actress must be totally colored by nostalgia because she was just awful in this movie. Makes me wonder if I really enjoyed her in fun schlock like BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER and DEADLY FRIEND or if it was all just hormones.
Kiernan Shipka on the other hand is a good actress and she has flexible enough of a look that she convincingly played the different phases of Cathy as she was faced with her burgeoning womanhood. She did have a bad habit of keeping a perpetual shell-shocked look on her face. But she was much better at portraying a girl in this situation than Swanson did because Kristy was just a mess in the role.
Advantage: FLOWERS ’14

15 thoughts on “Remake Rumble: Flowers In The Attic (1987) vs Flowers In The Attic (2014)

  1. AWFUL review, EVERYONE in 87 did a better job than the cast of 2014 and not to be rude but I found the 2014 adaption to be very hard to sit through as the movie was not good AT ALL!!!


  2. This is a good review, even though I disagree with several things. In the original film, they actually DID try to add the incest, but it didn’t get past the censors. As far as Kristy Swanson, VC Andrews herself said that Kristy embodied exactly what she thought Cathy should look like and I agree. Kiernan Shipka was okay but, in my opinion, miscast. I think all the other kids were better in the original version as well, including Chris. Cory was EXACTLY as described in the book, curly hair and all. I absolutely agree about Louise Fletcher being much more terrifying than Ellen Burstyn and Heather Graham was much better than Victoria Tenant, based on her looks alone, even though I liked her acting as well. The book describes Corrine as being a very attractive blonde and Heather definitely fit that. With that being said, even though the incest is an important part of the story, the original didn’t need that to be the better movie, at least for me. The original is darker, more gothic, has better music, a scarier grandmother, and you actually felt for those kids. The remake doesn’t seem as sad or creepy, doesn’t have the great ending of the original (whether it was in the book or not) and the kids were miscast.


    1. I can see why you would think so. I thought it was very close with the remake taking the nod but not by much.


  3. Don’t pay any attention to all the negative comments. I agree with your review whole heartedly. The protagonists were far better in the new and the antagonists were far better in the old.


  4. Sorry, I have to disagree. The 1987 edition felt real – the horror of the situation and the helplessness of the kids could bring out the cruelty of the mother and her family. The new one, although not bad, doesn’t give the same feeling. The sexual attraction between the brother and sister in the newer edition takes away some of the gravity of the situation (though I know it is more true to the material).


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