I think I have a problem when it comes to buying movies for cheap. Well, actually, I don’t have that much of a problem anymore since Blockbuster isn’t around anymore. Anyways, this is another result of my tendency to wander around Blockbuster as they were going out of business while I was bored. For some reason when I passed by this movie and it’s sequels (well, two of them at least), it sparked a memory of watching the preview for this movie on the old PPV channels and for some reason, I decided to buy them. So here is today’s movie, Poison Ivy.
The plot: At a local teenage hangout, Sylvie Cooper is writing in a book while thinking about a girl, Ivy, swinging on a swing. She finds it odd that the girl is there because none of her friends know the girl. Suddenly, a boy comes up and tells them a dog got hit by a car and all of the kids run off to see it. As Sylvie kneels by the injured dog, someone says they should put it out of it’s misery and Ivy does just that, smashing the dog’s head with a pipe. The next day, Sylvie is sitting in the schools office for calling in a bomb threat to the TV station her dad, Darryl Cooper, works at when Ivy walks in and they start talking. When Sylvie’s dad shows up to pick her up, he chastises her for what she did, saying he almost lost his job over it, and as they go to leave, Ivy knocks on the car window and asks if she can get a ride. Darryl initially says no but Sylvie convinces him to give her a ride, and then goes to get in the back seat because Ivy said she gets car sick. As they are driving along, Sylvie and Ivy are talking about a school project they have to do, while Ivy is subtly teasing Darryl by constantly propping her feet on the dash, allowing her miniskirt to ride up so he can see her legs. The next day, Ivy is on the rope swing again when she loses one of her boots, which Sylvie points out when she gets there. Ivy tries to get Sylvie on the swing but Sylvie refuses and says she has to go as she is grounded. The two head towards Sylvie’s house, talking about their families as they do, and when they get there, Sylvie invites Ivy inside but says to be quiet as her mom, Georgie, is sick. As Sylvie shows Ivy around, the attract the attention of Georgie, who tells Sylvie she doesn’t want her hanging out with Ivy but Ivy ends up talking with Georgie after fixing her oxygen mask and Georgie warms up to her. As time goes on, Ivy starts hanging out at Sylvie’s house more and more, becoming part of their lives. Georgie starts treating her like a second daughter, while Darryl starts to notice her more and more. After her parents start arguing one morning, Sylvie decides to skip school and do something reckless so Ivy grabs her hand and convinces her to get a tattoo with her, saying it will make them blood sisters. When they return home, they find Georgie on the edge of the balcony and Sylvie asks her mom what she was thinking as Ivy helps Georgie back in her bed. A few days later, Darryl is hosting a dinner party and Sylvie had promised to help him with it but when Sylvie’s boss at a charity center shows up to pick up Sylvie for a trip, Sylvie learns that Ivy had taken the call and said she could work that day. When Darryl hears what is going on, Ivy offers to help at the party as a way of making up for things and Darryl agrees, telling Sylvie to go. That night, Ivy wears one of Georgie’s dresses and impresses many of the guests, as well as Darryl. After everyone leaves, Ivy is dancing by herself in the kitchen when Darryl walks in and begins danging with her while kissing her neck. Suddenly, the lights turn on and the two turn to see Georgie standing there calling herself a fool. Darryl takes her back to her bed and talks with her and Ivy brings her a glass of champagne and apologizes, saying that Darryl was only hugging her as he cried. Georgie accepts the apology and drinks the champagne, then immediately falls asleep due to the pills Ivy placed in the glass and then Ivy sits on the bed in front of Darryl and he starts kissing up her legs. The next day, Sylvie gets upset when she finds Ivy sitting in her mom’s car with her dog, Fred, and believes Ivy is trying to steal her dog from her, who has only been loyal to Sylvie in the past. She has Ivy stand at the other end of the driveway, and the two start calling out to Fred but Ivy rattles some dog treats she has in her pocket, which she has secretly been feeding Fred, and Fred comes running to her and ignores Sylvie. Sylvie decides to skip school and when Darryl shows up to give the girls a ride home, Ivy says that Sylvie isn’t there and he tells Ivy to get in the car. They drive off and eventually end up out in the woods, where they end up having sex on the hood of Darryl’s car while it is raining. The next day, Georgie is listening to a tape that Sylvie had made her and standing out on the balcony when Ivy comes up behind her and pushes her off the edge, then hides when Sylvie comes in the room looking for her mom. After the funeral, Sylvie complains to Ivy about not being able to say some things to her mom that she wanted to and when she finds Ivy in her mom’s bed that night, she gets upset at first but Ivy has her lay down and pretend she is her mom and say what she wants to say. The next day, Sylvie is washing her mom’s old sports car and Ivy convinces her to go for a drive in it with the urn carrying her mother’s ashes. As they are driving, Ivy starts humming the song from the tape and Sylvie realizes that Ivy was in her mom’s room and questions Ivy about it. The two start arguing and Ivy ends up crashing into a tree, then quickly drags an unconscious Sylvie into the driver’s seat so that it looked like she was driving. Darryl, who had been replaced at the TV station, shows up at the hospital and is told that Sylvie is being kept for observation as she has been hallucinating. Sylvie tries to tell her dad that Ivy killed her mom but Darryl doesn’t believe her, saying that Georgie committed suicide like she had talked about for years. That night, Sylvie has a hallucination of her mom holding the necklace her dad gave her and she sneaks out of the hospital and hitches a ride back home. When she gets there, she finds Fred chained up outside and sneaks in only to find Darryl and Ivy having sex. When the two spot her, Sylvie runs off and Darryl chases after her but slips on the stairs due to the rain. When Ivy goes to check on him, Darryl notices the bruise on Ivy’s chest and realizes that Sylvie was telling the truth about Ivy driving and drives off to look for her. Heading back inside, Ivy puts on Georgie’s robe and starts listening to the tape that Sylvie made then heads out to the balcony. Sylvie, who had been hiding, sees her and, due to the head injury, believes it is her mom and makes her way back inside and tells her mom that she loves her. When her mom says she loves her too and kisses her, Sylvie realizes that it is Ivy when she uses her tongue. Sylvie says that Ivy killed her mom and pushes her off the balcony but as Ivy teeters on the edge, she grabs onto Sylvie’s necklace and says she will take Sylvie with her but the necklace breaks and Ivy falls to her death. As the light from Darryl’s headlights shine on Ivy’s body, Sylvie narrates that she still loves and misses her, not indicating if she is speaking about her mother or Ivy.
Poison Ivy met with mixed to negative reviews from the critics, holding a 37% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, most of the critics seemed to feel that it was either a trumped up teen sleaze thriller or a daring, savvy drama. The movie debuted at the Sundance Film Festival and immediately became controversial, in part due to the fact that the director was female. It only received a limited release in theaters, where it made over $1.8 million, but due to word of mouth, became a big hit on cable and video rentals and would result in three direct to video sequels being filmed.
This was a pretty interesting movie to watch. The acting was good, with Drew Barrymore (Ivy) and Tom Skerritt (Darryl) doing a good job in their roles and I also liked Cheryl Ladd (Georgie) but I felt like Sara Gilbert was just playing her character of Darlene from Roseanne instead of someone new. The story was interesting, made more-so by the fact that it was supposedly based on a real event in the producer’s life. I do understand the controversy regarding the casting, since both Drew and Sara were 17 when this was released, but I think the fact that they were so young actually gave more impact to their roles. That being said, a lot of the story felt like something out of a bad teenage drama, meaning it was a little weak. Probably worth watching once but there are better wannabe noir thrillers out there.
Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5