Excellently-cast Drew Barrymore plays Ivy, a teenager who befriends introverted and gloomy fellow-student Sylvie Cooper (Sara Gilbert) when they both get into trouble at school. Ivy, who has no stable family of her own, attaches herself to wealthy Sylvie, whose own parents – preoccupied television executive father Darryl (Tom Skerritt) and mother Georgie (Cheryl Ladd), bedridden with emphysema – neglect her.
As the two begin to spend all their time together, Darryl starts to find his daughter’s new friend attractive. Ivy finally succeeds in seducing him when she helps him host a cocktail party and her plan to ensnare him is further helped when Georgie ‘falls’ to her death from a window. Sylvie, realising Ivy’s role, is the next victim, left unconcious in a car crash and blamed for her mother’s death. But when her father visits her, she’s able to tell him of Ivy’s evil nature. Will the besotted man believe her?
Poison Ivy marked the impressive mainstream movie debut of Roger Corman alumni writer/ director Katt Shea and her co-writer/ producer, former husband Andy Ruben. Barrymore, 17, was provided with an ideal role where she was able to make the difficult transition from teenage to adult roles with genuine emotional depth.
USA / 1992
Director: Katt Shea
Writers: Katt Shea, Andy Ruben
Cast: Sara Gilbert, Drew Barrymore, Tom Skerritt, Cheryl Ladd, Alan Stock, Jeanne Sakata, E J Moore, Leonardo DiCaprio, Tim Winters