Annie's Garden (1994)

Genres - Drama  |  
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Actor and former casting director Anthony Barnao directed this initially intriguing but ultimately risible thriller about small-town sin. Lisa (Yancy Butler) is an aspiring writer from Pennsylvania who comes to the small Southern town of Edsville on her way across the country. She meets handsome diner-owner Luke (screenwriter Keith Coulouris) and is quickly attracted to him, developing a close friendship with his younger, simple-minded sister Annie (Charlotte Chatton) as well. But all is not right in Edsville, as Lisa soon learns. Luke is overprotective of Annie, having killed their father in a rage when he struck her 10 years previously. He and Annie are also having sex, and the woman who runs the local boarding house (Twin Peaks' Grace Zabriskie) reads all of Lisa's private journals aloud to both siblings. Things only get worse when local boy Jeff (Morgan Margolis) hits on Annie. Luke beats the teen to a bloody pulp, then kills his father (Ralph Lillig) and hangs his corpse in the library to use as a punching-bag. Lisa finally stumbles on to the horrible secret of Edsville, which turns this Cement Garden knockoff into a bizarre variation on The Wicker Man. By that point, however, most viewers will have given up, as the film's fascinating first hour gives way to undisciplined silliness in its concluding scenes.

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Keywords

diner, family-secrets, friendship, incest, journal, murder, owner, rage, sin, sister, writing