The title probably reminds you of the Baby Jane film right away. That one was definitely no good and this one also isn’t very solid although I would say it’s better than the former. This one only works because none of the characters are very smart and put themselves in a position to lose the whole time. It feels bad because you know that the characters had potential to accomplish big things in their life but never could because this was the end of their journey.
The film starts off with Claire being saddened because after her husband’s untimely death he didn’t leave her anything. She mis timed the moment as he had already taken out his life insurance and so now she is super poor. Claire figures she will start murdering everyone to keep her funds up and so she starts hiring maids only to bump them off afterwards. One day a lady named Alice appears and confirms she has no family or anyone who would miss her. Claire decides to hire her after that so she can get more money eventually. Alice has a little more spirit than the first few maids but is she really ready to handle such a powerful fighter?
Now your main suspension for disbelief here will be how this old lady is casually defeating everyone. It’s not like she is Master Genkai or anything like that. This is an old lady who can barely fight so each time her trick is to get the lady to walk into the grave with her back turned while Alice takes her out with a shovel. It’s pretty sad how easy this all is but at the same time once you’re in that position it would be hard to win. The fact is that you wouldn’t expect to be hit in the back of the head with a shovel so you aren’t prepared for that.
There is no excuse for one of the victims though. So here’s the scenario, the victim already knows that Claire is evil and is being chased around the house. Finally she knocks the knife out of Claire’s hands and gets her to the ground. She has 3 real options from this point forward. The first is to quickly end this by taking Claire down with one more hit, the second is to simply run away and get as far away as you can. The third is to grab the knife and then call the cops while keeping your eye on the villain. The victim chooses option 3 but the dumb version of it as she lets Claire keep the knife and completely gives her back as she grabs the phone. Naturally Claire capitalizes on this and pulls off the biggest comeback victory since the Patriots beat the Falcons in the Super Bowl. This was insane.
You never turn your back to a serial killer like that, particularly when they are armed. What was she thinking here? It was a really bad look and it’s just hard to believe that things would end like that. It was super annoying to put it mildly. Claire does a whole lot here when she should have been taken down ages ago. Surely you would be able to poke holes in her alibi of saying that each caretaker ran off when they were never seen again. Of course these were the days before internet so it gets trickier but there had to be better ways of handling this.
Claire is definitely evil through and through so don’t expect any kind of big redemption arc for her. She stands by all of her crimes and had absolutely no intentions of doing anything different. That’s just how she rolls. There are much easier and better ways of making money but she was never interested in those from the start. Meanwhile Alice was a decent character but didn’t always make the right moves. I liked that she could have a bit of a temper at times but on the other hand she didn’t do much with that. I was hoping she would actively challenge Claire more instead of just having a quick moment and immediately backing off. That’s never as impressive as she seems to think it is.
Her lies start getting more sloppy by the end too and it’s clear that she isn’t used to planning things out on the longterm. The ending could have been a lot more satisfying than how it turned out. Meanwhile there is a whole subplot with Harriet and her kid Jim but it feels like the two plots don’t have a lot to do with each other for the most part. You’ve got a little romance going with Mike and there’s a lot of drama there. You have the characters deciding if they should get together or not but you’re just waiting to get back to the main plot already.
There is a dog that shows up there for some big jump scares. If anything happened there that would have been super rough but fortunately it’s all fakeouts the whole time. I just don’t think there was much point in including Harriet and all the characters in that subplot. Sure, Mike sort of tied both plots together and they got to see Claire being suspicious the whole time but they were still defeated in the end. They didn’t really get to see through the lies and suspense very well at all. Instead they just became more sacrifices to be taken down in short order. Not a good look for them. Also, apparently Harriet’s old husband died a while back and while I don’t think they’ve said how long it’s been, it seems like an odd detail to add before starting up a romance. Makes the whole thing feel like a rebound.
In the end the problem with this film is that you can’t take it seriously. An old lady taking everyone down one at a time like this? it’s really hard to believe but the worst offender is the final victim for not staying alert. The previous maids also looked really bad in not standing up for themselves and just letting Claire walk all over them. I get that they needed the money and all but it’s just annoying to watch in every scene as they are insulted and humiliated but don’t do anything about it. Claire has way too much power the whole time.
Overall, This is a fairly mean spirited film. Characters don’t really think things through and it’s just crazy watching the whole story unfold. It doesn’t play out like it should and they probably should have gone all out with the crazy premise instead of taking it so seriously. You’re just not going to successfully make her a villain to be feared, not like this at any rate. I would definitely recommend skipping this one. The idea of an old lady bumping everyone off is executed as uneventfully and slow paced as you would expect. You’ve got better things you can do with your time.