I'm searching for a movie I watched a couple of times, in France, in 2012 or so. I would describe it as a horror (because of the murder scenes), drama (because of the plot), and maybe thriller movie. I don't remember from what year it's from, because I was a kid when I watched it, but, keeping in mind I don't know very much about these things, I remember the blood was kind of bright red, but not as paint-like as old horror movies like Suspiria. I also remember the quality was rather good too, so I'd say maybe a 1990-1995 movie ? And I believe it's an American movie, original language English.

It's about a family : two psychopath murderer parents, and their daughter, who must be about 12 years old. The parents want their daughter to be the perfect little girl, and so, everyday, they (her mother mainly I think) wash her and dress her up in a perfectly clean white dress (it's simple and made of rather thin cloth). The girl has straight golden-brown hair, and similar to Regan McNeil's (from the Exorcist) hairstyle (with the fringe). She is slimmer and less chubby than her though.

Her parents keep her locked up in a small room, walls all bare (in one scene, there may be a window from which the girl watches her parents leave in their black car, but I'm not sure whether she's still in the same room or another) and painted entirely in white. The room is empty too, and the daughter spends her time in that room alone, fearing her parents, and dreading the time when they will unlock the door to order her around (and maybe give her something to eat ? I don't remember exactly how or when she eats, but I think her parents leave her a plate of food from time to time in the white room).

The girl has a friend. It's a 12 or 13 year old boy, very thin, all dirty, and dressed in rags. I don't remember where he comes from, but he has no family, no friends, except the girl. He lives between the walls of the girl's house (perhaps because he used to live there ? I'm not sure), scampering swiftly on all fours through narrow passages, between bricks and wood planks. They know about each other's situation and they help each other out. She gives him some of her food, and I believe he gives her information he gathered about her parents, what they're doing in another room. When they want to see each other, they remove an air grate or something from the small white room where the girl stays, and they talk, when her parents are not around. They only have each other.

Actually, the boy cannot talk normally anymore, as he has no tongue. The girl's parents caught him once and chopped it off as a punishment. Since then, the boy and the girl have been a lot more careful about their friendship, resulting in the parents believing he has fled and no longer lives between their walls, although they do have tiny doubts about it sometimes.

The boy can only utter vowels but the girl has learnt to understand him very well nevertheless.

The background, the decor and style of the girl's house is kind of posh. It's a typical (I think ? Sorry if I'm mistaken, I'm not American) big American house, with two stories and an attic, and a garden with a covered swimming pool in front of the house. The inside is decorated with lots of brown, orange and red tones, and I think the floor is wooden in all rooms. There are red carpets in the house, a chandelier and a fireplace in the living room. The girl's mother always (or often) wears a dress, and she keeps her red(-orange) hair shoulder-length and curled in big curls. The girl's father is dressed more casually, I think brown pants, shirt and heavy-looking brown jacket, a little like a huntsman. He owns a hunting rifle, that hangs over the fireplace in the living room, that he uses to try and kill his daughter's friend.

All that is kind of the backstory. The movie really starts when a little black boy, about 8 years old, comes in to their lives. These are a few scenes I remember :

D = Daughter, F = Daughter's Friend, LB = Little Boy.

LB lives in the neighborhood, a couple of blocks down the road. At the very beginning of the movie, he's at home ; it's a family gathering and his grandfather is telling a story. LB goes out into the night (I don't know why... It might be Halloween night ?) and somehow comes across D and her family's house. He is scolded and angrily asked to leave by D's parents, but he somehow manages to get inside the house and meet D and F.

At first, LB is shocked and horrified by the life D and F lead. He tells them they have to call the police but they assure him it's no use. He insists, and promises he will do his best to try and warn someone. I suppose LB is trying to exit the house again to carry out his plan, as D and F successfully manage to hide him from D's parents, without getting into too much trouble. (D's parents are aware of something going on with their daughter, but they don't know what.)

LB manages to exit the house a first time, and runs to tell his grandfather and/or family. They don't believe him, so he calls the police.

One policeman comes to check on the house. As D's mother opens the door, he explains that somebody called to inform them about some type of abuse going on in their house, and he asks whether he can inspect the house. D's mother pretends to be surprised, tells him she lives there only with her husband, and lets him in with a smile, only to murder him with a knife moments later (from behind, I believe), once he had inspected a few rooms.

Once she is sure that the policeman is dead, she goes and angrily unlocks the door to the white room and drags D by her arm to where the murder took place. (That is, right between the front door and the staircase.) I suppose she's angry against D because she (of course) suspects that she has something to do with the call to the police. (However, she is not extremely angry with D because I think she knows that she'd be unable (too afraid ?) to do such a thing, so perhaps she suspects F because, as I mentioned earlier, she and her husband have tiny doubts about him still living between their walls.)

She angrily throws D to the floor, telling her to clean up the mess. D falls right into the puddle of the policeman's blood, dirtying her white dress, and her mother, realizing what she'd done, gets angrier and shouts : "Look at what you've done now ! You've ruined your dress !" She then proceeds to drag D to the bathroom, and fills up the bathtub with scalding hot water while D is standing in the corner, watching with a terrified look on her face. Her mother grabs her and wants to throw her in the bathtub but D screams that it's too hot. She is finally thrown inside and screams louder as the water burns her and she tries to get out of the bathtub.

Later on, two policemen come and check again on the house, and D's mother comes and opens the front door to talk to them. The view is taken from behind D's mother. We see her leaning against the right side of her door, a little seductively I don't know, with her right hand still covered in the first policeman's blood hidden behind the wall, and the blood puddle behind her hidden as the door is only ajar. (The first policeman's body has been dragged out, I think.) D's mother manages to convince the two policeman that nothing is going on and they go away.

In the meantime, as D's parents suspected F of calling the police, D's father tries to hunt him down, shooting where he hears movement between the walls.

There is another scene where I remember D being tied up in the attic, as a punishment ; her hands and feet are tied together with a rope and the rope from her hands is hooked to a nail (I think ?) in a wall maybe, making her hang a few inches from the floor. She is left there alone as her parents continue to hunt down F. LB manages to get back into the house from the attic, sees her like this and unties her. He tells her how things have been on his side (that he tried to tell but no one believed, and that he called the police), when suddenly D's father comes up to check on her. LB quickly hides somewhere while D puts her hands back in place and stands on tiptoe, pretending to still be tied up when her father comes close to her. She pleads : "Please, untie me", so that he doesn't get suspicious. He refuses and finally leaves, not noticing anything.

The movie ends with a fight. I believe D's parents are killed by F and D, F dying in the fight.

  • It seems you remember every detail except the title :)
    – user37459
    Commented Jul 18, 2017 at 12:11
  • @polfosol More less. She didn't seem to remember the mutilated cannibal kids. Haha...
    – LeonX
    Commented Jul 18, 2017 at 15:02

1 Answer 1


Is it People Under the Stairs (1991)?

The plot seems very similar. Plus here are a few quotes that look like a good match:

The Robesons, who are believed to be a married couple, call themselves Mommy and Daddy. They have a daughter named Alice.

With the help of their daughter Alice and a boy called Roach, Fool attempts to escape the house and reveal the truth to the world.

  • Alice - Daughter
  • Roach - Boy without tongue
  • Fool - Little boy

A boy named Roach whose tongue was removed also evades the Robesons by hiding in the walls.

(My emphasis)


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