V.C. Andrews' Gates of Paradise Review: Annie and the Horny House of Horrors!

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Annie, are you OK? Are you OK, Annie?!

Just kidding, Annie Stonewall Tatterton is fine; unlike her mom, she got her man in the end. Technically, it wasn't incest, so it's OK, you guys!

The fourth installment of the Casteel saga said goodbye to Heaven and brought her equally as hoo-ha motivated inbred daughter, Annie, to the forefront.

Annie Stonewall

Annie is truly her mother's child. She has that Vanvoreen all-consuming fire Jillian drunkenly prattled on about. She has a one-track mind, and that focus is on the D, one in particular.

Her milkshake brings all the boys to the yard.

Related: V. C. Andrews' Fallen Hearts Review: Lions, and Baby Daddies, & Affairs, Oh My! 

Of course, in this case, it was primarily her not-brother and her grandfather, but at infancy, the doctor should have smacked her on the ass and called her a Vanvoreen woman. She has their je ne sais quoi.

Stuck Inside - Tall

Gates of Paradise brought us up to the '80s, which made it more fun than ever. It was like Misery meets an 80's rom-com.

Although, the (intentional) comedy was lacking, and it was an abundance of Annie throwing fits and fending off attacks in her attempt to get out of that freaking room.

Related: V.C. Andrews' Dark Angel Review: Incest, Mediocrity, and Magical Hoo-ha's! 

It was an easy set; the majority of the movie took place in that senescent shrine to Heaven and Leigh.

But first, the movie began with our first look at close to middle-aged Heaven. For some reason, perhaps since they went through the trouble of aging up Jason Priestley as the creepy Tony Tatterton, it seemed like they would maybe do the same for Annalise Basso.

Complicated Man - Tall

The ages are all over the place anyway, and it's not like Troy didn't look the same as he did in the previous two movies. Did they even give him a little gray in his hair?

It was hard to tell because of the constant state of disheveled bedhead he had going on.

Instead, we had Johannah Newmarch who is reminiscent of a ginger Paget Brewster. She was gorgeous, and Heaven was uptight.

Adult Heaven - Tall

The Stonewalls must have done well with themselves after years of running the Tatterton toy factory, or whatever, in West Virginia. They dressed like upper-middle-class, which was a far cry from the country bumpkin thing Logan randomly had in the last movie and Heaven had in the first two.

Logan even bought Annie a freaking Benz for her 18th birthday. Is it wrong to point out how preferable they were as hillbillies?

The Stonewall Family - Tall

There's something about people who forget their roots that's grating.

Annie and Luke cracked jokes about coming a long way from being hicks like either one of them were ever about that hillbilly life. Posers! They didn't know the hillbilly struggle!

Heaven: Annie, why are you still painting that place?

Annie: Because mom, a bowl of pears is boring. Why does everyone care so much what I paint anyway?

Heaven: Let's leave Farthinggale in the past where it belongs.

As customary, Heaven thought it was a grand idea to play coy about her past at Farthinggale. She, better than anyone, should have known the more secretive you are about something, the more curious a teenager will become.

Aged Tony Tatterton

Everyone would get all weird the second Annie mentioned Farthinggale or Tony, so you can't blame the girl for being curious. Heaven knew that love letter was in the cottage music box, so did she intend to tell Annie the truth about Troy?

There was never any confirmation that she kept it from Logan all those years, but we're led to believe she shared it with Fanny.

Logan: It's like magic. You say vulgar, and Fanny appears.

Adult Heaven, Fanny, and Logan were an unusual, confusing mess. It seemed as though Fanny and Heaven had made their amends in the previous movie after their court spectacle, but then Fanny still actively did things like make moves on Logan.

Adult Fanny

Heaven found Fanny to be exasperating, and she was generally over Logan in his entirety.

He was into her, but it was evident she wasn't into him, which means she spent another 20 years coasting by in this marriage she had zero interest in lying to this man who adored her but never filled the void of her real love Troy.

And Fanny, even at 40, was still living her best life as a promiscuous, alcoholic cougar. Fortunately for Luke, he didn't take after his mother or his namesake. He reminded me of Tom; that's who should've been his namesake.

This family continues to be the dumbest of them all for unknown reasons. Heaven kept bitching about Logan drinking too much, and once again, she got in her feelings about Fanny having too much fun with her husband she barely loved, and she left in a most dramatic form.

Main Trio

She wanted Logan to follow her, and he did like a properly chastised pup, but despite her being the one to point out how freaking drunk he was, she let him drive. Seriously?!

What a way to make the audience feel nothing about the death of a character we spent so much time with for three movies, you know? But Heaven was destined to die young and in a terrible (and cliche) fashion. It was her birthright.

Related: V. C. Andrews' Heaven Review: Twisted, Wildly Inappropriate, and Sheer WTF-ery? 

She and Logan died the same way as Luke and his wife.

It was not the least bit surprising that Annie didn't get to mourn her parents. Outside of her very extra crying scene when she woke up in the hospital after her weeks-long coma, she moved on from their deaths rather quickly.

Annie Mourns - Tall

Others spoke of her trauma more than she did. All she wanted was Luke. Her singular focus from the beginning of the movie until the end was Luke. The girl was d*ckmatized and didn't even get his joystick yet. Damn these Tatterton women!

It was wild how everyone was aware of the inappropriate chemistry between Annie and Luke for all 18 years of their life and alluded to it but didn't do anything about it.

Drake: I remember once your mom had to pull you two apart. Maybe I should call Fanny over here. Tell her what ol' uncle Drake walked in on between Annie and her half brother.

Uncle Drake had to break up their wrestling match that had Annie two steps away from riding Luke like a mechanical bull. Annie was ready to risk it all 100% of the time.

Drake Casteel

They were way too frisky for two teenagers who thought they were related. When is the last time you straddled any of your presumed family members? Nevermind; the class doesn't need to know.

Fanny was right there with her, but all she could do was attempt to call Luke out for not being there when she woke up. She couldn't even hide her disappointment about him going to Boston for college.

Annie: Luke is more than just a half brother to me. He's my best friend.

If they were the same age, why wasn't Annie going to school too? They mentioned her possibly going to art school, but it wasn't definitive, and they didn't show or mention her in high school either.

Luke Stonewall - Tall

She should have been focusing on her education instead of whether or not she could get into her not half-brother's pants. But just like her mother, her heart and her head were in her vagina.

It's unfortunate how her curiosity about her mother's history with Tony didn't sustain her for long. She, like Heaven, would start off wanting to find out more about her mother and family history, but then the narrative shifts to that of a love story.

They either abruptly stop digging and trying to learn more, or they get distracted by someone. The family has many secrets, but most of them go unexplored, or they barely scratch the surface of them, or there is no reaction.

Annie jumped at going to Farthinggale after her accident. A large part of it was curiosity about the Tattertons, but then they made the deciding factor that Drake, but mainly Luke were living in Boston too.

New Digs

It made more sense for her to stay in West Virginia and let Fanny look after her or perhaps Logan's mother (was she still alive?) then it did going to live with a grandfather she never met.

Fanny was a doozy, but she was sincere when she said she would take care of Annie. It was something of importance to her, and the love for Annie and Heaven came through during the moment.

Fanny would have done right by Annie, but the girl was too busy wanting to be as close to Luke as possible and if it meant getting to know her estranged grandfather, well, then she could kill two birds with one stone. Annie pulled a Felicity Porter. Bless her heart and loins.

Fanny: Your momma and me, we had our differences, but we also kept each other's secrets.

It makes you wonder why Fanny didn't put up much of a fight though. Once again, it's disturbing that Fanny knew about Tony's infatuation with Leigh and Heaven and his proclivity for forcing himself on young women, and she just let Annie go to stay with him.

Complicated Man - Tall

If he knocked up Leigh and tried to assault Heaven, what made her think Annie would be any different?! WTF is wrong with these people?! You can't pass it off as a sign of the times. It was the 80s, for Pete's sake!

Tony was creepy from the second Annie opened her eyes until he croaked. He did the weird hug and hair sniff thing; all of his kisses were way too close to her lips, and he lingered longer than usual.

Tony: Heaven and I, we had a falling out, but I never stopped loving her.

The man carried her bridal style over the threshold of Farthinggale. Touchy Tony had plans for Annie, and they were apparent from the moment she met him. She had at least enough knowledge to figure there was a legitimate reason her mother didn't speak to the man.

the Doll Collector - Tall

Wealthy families are messy as hell, though. They can have all of these secrets, and all of these nasty things should come between them, but money matters. Heaven and her family were thriving off of the Tatterton name.

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They ran a Tatterton business. Freaking Drake, who was a money-hungry Casteel, was promoted at the company and benefited as though he were a Tatterton.

As a result, he had no qualms indulging an aging, half-crazy man and his desire to alienate Annie from the rest of her family and Luke.

Sneaky Drake- Tall

It seemed like Tony's beef with Luke Stonewall had to do with how jealous he was of Luke Casteel. In Tony's mind, Luke Casteel took away his beloved Leigh, and Heaven still had an affection for him and looked to him as her father and not Tony.

Decades later and all Annie could talk about was wanting her "half-brother" Luke, who Tony knew wasn't her real family. Annie was prioritizing Luke ahead of him. In his warped mind, it was a repeat of Heaven and Leigh and the rejection he experienced by them for being a handsy creep.

Nurse Broadfield: I am not losing this job because a crippled girl can't follow the rules!

It made no sense that Nurse Ratchet was the only person who was supposed to help Annie recover. What on God's Earth was wrong with her?

Nurse Broadfield

Her motivation for being an abusive tyrant was unclear. She hated Annie from the moment they met, but maybe it's because of the pattern of most women hating the Vanvoreen women just for the hell of it.

Maybe they can sniff out their magical vajayjays, and it makes them jealous. Who knows?

Related: Pearson Season 1 Episode 4 Review: The Deputy Mayor

From the way Nurse Ratchet was rubbing Annie's back raw and beating the girl until she was red as a tomato, we know she hasn't been laid in a while.

There were probably cobwebs in that thing, and dust where her heart should have been. It's too bad Annie was unaware of the scalding hot bath Heaven endured in her youth too.

Nurse From Hell - Tall

Nurse Ratchet and Tony were not skilled in the art of holding someone captive. The mansion wasn't the least bit accessible.

Annie was banished to the old, dusty room and couldn't leave. Why didn't she notice that the rooms had padlocks on the outside?

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Anyone else would have noped moments after being wheeled into Farthinggale. They wouldn't even put a television in her room, give her the books Luke left her or anything.

Admittedly, a tear came to my eye when they kept giving her unseasoned chicken and peas. It was cruel and unusual punishment. Surely Rye Whiskey had nothing to do with that flavorless blob of poultry on a plate; I refuse to believe it. The disrespect!

Annie Paints - Tall

No one even bothered to wheel her outside for some air.

She was bound to go stir-crazy at some point. Poor Millie was the closest she had to a friend there, but Satan's caretaker got her fired.

For some reason, they wouldn't let Rye Whiskey near Annie either. Rye Whiskey is a cool ass name, and he deserved more screentime and to not be the first token minority with lines in four whole movies.

It would have been great if Annie built up a rapport with Rye Whiskey and learned more about the Tatterton family.

Sinister Nurse

Unfortunately, Annie spent all of her time alone, with the evil nurse or all five of Tony's personalities. Lizzie Boys sold it well, but it was boring.

Her sole motivation, despite being in that house of horrors filled with secrets was to contact Luke.

She about lost her mind when Drake told her Luke had met another girl. And she understandably flipped out when she was given lame excuses for why she couldn't contact him.

But at what point did she, you know, focus on trying to walk again? She had no physical therapist. She stopped exercising her legs when Nurse Broadfield left.

Annie Mourns - Tall

Tony's idea of caring for her included sneaking peeks at her naked and trying to bathe her for science.

She probably would have healed faster if she made a more valiant effort to do more. But then the second she wiggled two toes there she was trying to go down a flight of stairs.

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She gets credit for creativity. The process of getting the wheelchair down the stairs was pretty smart for a descendant of Heaven. Her disappearing into the wooded maze or whatever it was, however, was stupid.

Poor Troy was dying (pardon the pun) to run into her. Why else would he take his happy go lucky behind to Heaven's grave within view of Annie a gazillion times?

Cabin Dweller - Tall

Honestly, how many times did he need to go to her grave? It was ludicrous!

What in the names of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung is wrong with Troy Tatterton?

Are you saying he rode Heaven's favorite horse into the sea in his suicide attempt? Did the horse live?!

Annie: Who are you?

Troy: I'm Tony's brother, Troy.

Annie: Troy. I gotta say, you're looking pretty spry for a guy who has been dead all these years.

So Tony did know his brother was alive all this time and living in his secluded cottage of sin?

Tatterton Bros

It was unclear in the last movie, but he was aware of his brother's survival. Troy has been whittling away at dolls for all these years. Why did Heaven believe he was dead the first time if the man is physically incapable of leaving the manor?

Was he hiding somewhere else on the property when he was pretending to be dead?

Annie: Why does everything about our family have to be lied about or hidden away?

Troy: Because certain things are taboo.

The man had a full attack trying to push Annie away from the manor. It's like in addition to being severely depressed and suicidal he also has a form of agoraphobia or something.

Stroll with Dad - Tall

Troy was there the whole time and knew his daughter was in the house with his pedophilic older brother who lost his bloody mind, and he just left her in there?

What is with these people?

The lack of Annie and Troy moments were disappointing. The family exploration took a backseat to Annie trying to f*ck her "brother." Whoops, sorry, "the love story."

Annie suspected Troy was her father, but she never made real attempts to get to know him. By the time Luke came to rescue her, including facing off against crazy Tony and a gun and carting her away like the heroic lead he wasn't, Annie didn't think twice about Troy.

Annie, Are you OK? - Tall

She had zero reaction to finding out her father was also her great uncle. Who shrugs in the face of finding out they're a product of incest and that everything they knew about their life and their parents was a lie?

A horny teenage girl whose thinking with her tingly bits.

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The first chance she had after confirming Troy was her father after speaking to Fanny and reading the letter she hobbled her randy arse over to Luke to make him feel uncomfortable as hell by forcing him to admit he harbored less than sibling-like feelings for his "sister."

Annie: Luke, what if we weren't brother and sister? Do you ever think about me?

Luke: Let's take a break.

Annie: Luke, I love you.

Luke: I sure hope so.

Annie: Not like a sister, OK? I think you feel the same way.

Luke: Annie, this isn't a conversation.

Annie: Look me in the eye and tell me that you aren't in love with me.

Luke: You're my sister.

Annie: That's not an answer.

Luke: It's the only one that matters.

The only reason she went to Tony's funeral was so she could drag Luke to the cottage and reassure him that they weren't blood-related.

So Many Funerals

Troy probably thought he would have a special moment with his daughter. He hoped he could discuss his and Heaven's love and talk about what Heaven was like in her youth. Nope!

Annie may as well have said," Thanks, for the confirmation, Pops," and waited all but two milliseconds before she dragged Luke away and said, "See? We're not siblings. Let's have sex now."

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Funny how Luke was able to switch off brother mode after 18 years in three seconds and start making out with Annie. She didn't give him a moment to process any of this before she started talking about kissing and marriage and sex.

Annie: Hey, so you ever going to kiss me?

Luke: You were my sister until about three seconds ago.

Annie: I wasn't  your sister three seconds ago. I wasn't ever your sister.

Luke: I guess that I can kiss you then.

Annie: You can kiss me. You can marry me. You can do anything you want to me.

They're teenagers! Almost all of her parents are dead. She just found out she has an uncle daddy and her not brother is now her boyfriend.

Siblings to Lovers - Tall

And Annie didn't care about any of that. All she wanted was to sex it up with Luke. These people are insane. All of them.

Technically, she and Luke aren't blood-related, and it's not incest, but the message it sends about family is effed up. The romance isn't endearing if it disregards the concept of the family altogether.

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The two of them not being related by blood doesn't matter. Annie and Luke were raised as siblings their entire lives. He wasn't the boy next door or her best friend; he was her brother.

They don't stop being brother and sister because of the truth coming out. Heaven and Fanny remained sisters. Screw adopted and foster families then, huh?

A Different Kinda Love

I suppose Annie and Luke will live happily ever after, and everyone who knows them will accept their love even though they were the twisted siblings who were way too close to each other ten minutes ago.

They'll probably have a couple of kids of their own. The good news is their kids will be millennials, and we kill everything, so maybe, they'll put an end to the history of incest, near incest, and statutory rape. #StayWoke.

Other Tidbits:

  • Whoever decided to play Soft Cell's "Tainted Love" during the Annie and Luke twisted sibling intro deserves a medal. 
  • Even in death, Heaven can't escape Tony. Why the hell were she, and Logan, buried at Farthinggale? So much for resting in peace! 
  • With Tony dead, who is in charge of the Tatterton doll empire? Troy sure as hell isn't CEO material. Does that mean Annie inherited the family business despite wanting nothing to do with the family? 
  • Tom was the only decent Casteel man, huh? 
  • Troy started the second movie looking 40 and ended the fourth movie still looking 40. How? 
  • "Your mother and I were close." "Define close." Honey, he was screwing her senseless. They were as close as it gets.
  • I love how they call things "taboo." It's beyond taboo. Somehow that word barely scratches the surface of this f*ckery. 
  • LOL at Fanny claiming she and Heaven kept each other's secrets when they aired out their entire family's dirty laundry during their courtroom spectacle while fighting for custody over Drake. 
  • Why do they let all of these people go quietly insane without giving them the proper help? 
  • Isn't Boston to West Virginia like an 11-hour drive? You'd swear it was ten minutes.

Related: Get Great Selection of New & Classic Movies with the Lifetime Movie Club via Prime Video Channels!  

Is Annie her mother's daughter? Did her and Luke not being related make their relationship easier to swallow? Which realm of hell is Tony in now? Did the romance overshadow the family plot? 

Grab a snack and let's have a ball in the comments below! 

Review

Editor Rating: 2.7 / 5.0
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Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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