Six-year-old Janie (Devin) is abandoned by criminal couple Leann (Hannah) and John (Carradine), and later adopted by perfectly adjusted Russell (Spano) and Dana (Kelly). This second pair, who chose not to have a child of their own, deal with the traumatised Janie with love and care. Until, that is, Leann and John decide to reclaim their child. Domestic horror movies like this (technically efficient, emotionally exploitative) drive a pile into the heart. The odds are stacked in the yuppies' favour. The Pavlovian use of 'pure cinema' works - the rhythm and dart of the camera movements, Graeme Revell's score, Marcia Hinds-Johnson's production design - and the audience waits for sweet closure. Performances are secondary: Carradine, for instance, looking so bored you expect him to yawn, has only to incarnate threat; Hannah models perverted motherhood; Kelly and Spano enact the semblance of a functional couple, caught by the camera in poses of heartening 'normality'. The climax is a would-be tour de force in a half-built new house, reminiscent of the church in Witness. First-time director Strick, to be fair, does more than justice to Michael Auerbach's hyperbolic script.
The Tie That Binds
Cast and crew