While they are initially relieved after the murder is committed and they are able to leave their mother’s house, the girls are not entirely remorseless, nor are they able to forget their old lives completely. Even though Linda is gone, the mark she left on her children—particularly Sandra, the older of the two—remains. They keep up appearances at school, but at home they are the same tortured children, just in different ways than before.
The film tries to use special effects to create fantasy sequences in which the girls imagine a perfect mother, but these feel out of place and don’t quite work. The behavior of the other teenagers—who should be much more well-adjusted than Sandra or Beth—is often ridiculous, as they encourage the girls to go through with the murder and even treat them like celebrities in the aftermath. Still, after viewing the film I looked into the true story on which it is based and was surprised to find just how closely the movie adheres to its source material. As in the film, it was almost a year before a classmate finally reported the real Sandra and Beth Andersen to the police.
The film raises some interesting questions: were the girls really driven to the point that they truly believed there was no other way out? Why did no one respond to their cries for help? Why didn’t the hundreds of kids who knew what was happening say anything? Was it out of fear? Apathy? Yes, Sandra and Beth Andersen killed their mother, but are they the only ones to blame? Despite some odd stylistic choices, the film succeeds in taking a closer look inside the psyche of a broken family.