Kirstie Alley in Family Sins (2004)

The Family Geck

The large Geck family are respected members of the community; they all attend church, run yard sales and even take in foster children. But behind the curtains things are very different as Brenda Geck (Kirstie Alley) is not only evil to her family, manipulating them, but also is a scheming business owner who will do anything to keep up the facade whilst stealing from those she rents properties to. That all changes when foster daughter Marie (Deanna Milligan) escapes with her baby as she sets about lifting the lid on the sins of the Geck family, not that anyone will listen to her because everyone thinks the Gecs are saints but it doesn't stop Marie and she ends up writing to a host of a TV show who brings her story to the public.

"Family Sins" is a movie of two things and that starts with Kirstie Alley as Brenda Geck "the mother" of the family and she is repulsive. I say repulsive because Kirstie Alley plays her as downright manipulative and evil, being cruel to Marie, hitting her in public, twisting things and acting as a sort of crime boss. The other thing is the extent of what sickening things they get up to behind close doors and most certainly what goes on in the basement. I won't tell you what goes on in the basement of the family home but trust me the scene where we find out will have you gripped and shocked. But then "Family Sins" is full of shocking scenes which will leave you feeling sick especially when you learn that this was based on a true story.

Deanna Milligan in Family Sins (2004)

Now that is where "Family Sins" works; focusing on the depravity of what goes on in the Geck family especially Brenda and the cruelness of her actions. Where the movie has issues is that in order to cram so much in and to show how the Geck family got the way it did and how much they got away with it ends up having to jump all over the place. For example at one point we jump back 15 years to one event which explains how Marie ended up living with the Geck gamily the next we are 10 years earlier with Brenda teaching Marie how to shoplift and staging a fall to distract the security guard. It makes "Family Sins" a movie which is full of shocking scenes but with little narrative in-between to make it flow.

Now the star performance in "Family Sins" is from Kirstie Alley who as I have said is absolutely evil as Brenda and unsettlingly believable with her manipulative ways. But there are other performances which are just as good especially from Deanna Milligan who is thoroughly believable as an abused foster daughter who wants to escape but is also frightened for her life.

What this all boils down to is that "Family Sins" has its problems as it has to leap from one event to another. But it is gripping and seriously uncomfortable to watch due to the intentionally vile performance from Kirstie Alley and the vile things which went on in the Geck home.