The Hand That Rocks the Cradle (1992)
The Hand That Rocks the Cradle is director Curtis Hanson's suburban horror story of a demented nanny bent on revenge for past wrongs. Peyton (Rebecca De Mornay) was once a happily married woman, but when her doctor husband is accused of assaulting a patient and he commits suicide, her world falls apart and she plots revenge. Claire (Annabella Sciorra), the woman who made the accusation, hires Peyton as a nanny, not knowing of their past involvement. Peyton then proceeds to terrorize the family, attempts to seduce the husband and generally destroy Claire as she feels she has been destroyed. The film, while somewhat implausible, is saved by the strong performances of Sciorra and De Mornay. Rebecca De Mornay has not given such a good performance since Risky Business, and she manages to make Peyton both believable, frightening and sympathetic. De Mornay has many great moments, but the scene, where she slowly destroys a bathroom in her impotent rage is unbelievably powerful. Hanson, a superb director of thrillers, manages to bring all the elements together to make The Hand that Rocks the Cradle a frightening psychological thriller and an interesting look at a woman's obsessive hatred and envy. … More
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Critic Reviews for The Hand That Rocks the Cradle
This is De Mornay's film and she's a wicked treat, looking daggers at her enemy one moment and then glazing over with sweetness the next.
The careful structure of THTRTC guarantees that the movie will generate a fair amount of suspense throughout. But the single-mindedness of the movie is a genuine limitation, and, watching it, you begin to feel spoon-fed.
With its banal, docile household threatened by an enemy within, the film is like The Stepfather without wit or irony.
At its best, The Hand That Rocks the Cradle is a bright, nasty psychological thriller with a joker up its sleeve.
The Hand That Rocks the Cradle is that rare thing, a realistic thriller wise enough not to sell short any of its characters. Just be prepared to become very, very scared when you see it.
This is pure unbridled hokum, of course, but extremely effective until the last 30 minutes, when the plot rapidly self-destructs.
All of the best parts here go to women -- Sciorra, De Mornay and Julianne Moore in a funny supporting bit as Claire's cynical, suspicious friend.
The Hand that Rocks the Cradle, though it positions itself as chilling suspense, is not even mildly scary; it's just offensive.
Exploitation of child abuse and baby-stealing make this one a particularly nasty business.
Things go about the way you expect them to, but Curtis Hanson, who directed, manages to make it work.
Five years before adapting and directing the modern masterpiece L.A. Confidential, Curtis Hanson helmed this sizable box office hit that, like 1987's Fatal Attraction, used home invasion as a crafty commercial hook.
De Mornay seems to have found her true vocation playing the nanny from hell, but while the ensuing thrills may well be enjoyed by many, anyone with offspring of their own would be wise to stay away.
This jovially sinister, middle-class morality tale-cum-horror show is predictable, implausible and fiendishly entertaining.
Scary premise of mad sitter vs mother and child...effective.
Audience Reviews for The Hand That Rocks the Cradle
The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world. That is very true in this nail-biting, on-the-edge-of-your-seat thriller. Excellent acting by Rebecca De Mornay, and Annabella Sciorra who I had not heard of until I watched this movie. Absolutely a great movie! You'll honestly enjoy this movie if your into thriller movies like I am. Rent it!!!! :)More
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