'House of Chains' tells the story of a married couple who imprison their six children in a cryptic religious cult. ET has a sneak peek.
Mena Suvari tests her limits this month with the release of House of Chains, the fictional story of a troubled married couple who imprison their six children at home as a result of a cryptic religious ideology. ET has an exclusive sneak peek of the new Lifetime film.
Suvari plays Laura, a seemingly normal suburban wife who, along with her husband, Tye (Greyston Holt), follow a set of strict religious beliefs that keep their six children isolated from the outside world.
The disturbing faith system leads Laura and Tye "down a path of child abuse, neglect and imprisonment," the film's press release reads. "In order to keep their younger siblings safe and to free themselves from the shackles their parents have created, the older children band together and risk a harrowing escape to alert authorities and save their family."
In ET's clip, Laura watches while her husband ties two of their children to the banister at the top of the house's stairs. The whole family wears white linen clothing and stands in front of a wall covered floor to ceiling in framed photographs of the children.
"We have found where the enemy planted his seeds of evil," Tye says as he finishes knotting the rope around his son's back. The line seems to imply that the children are at fault for a grave sin, but the rest of the group looks confused. "Now we can starve the infection out of the soil but it’ll take seven days," he continues, suggesting the two kids will have to remain tied there for a full week.
"Seven?" Laura asks, aghast and seemingly scared. When Tye tells her it could be as long as nine days, she reassures him, "No, seven is enough."
As the rest of the family descends the stairs, leaving the two imprisoned children tied to the banister, the younger boy yells for his mother. "Mama, untie me for just a minute." Laura pauses, but continues walking downstairs.
Last month, Suvari told ET that these portrayals of child abuse left her completely knocked out while filming. "It was very, very intense," she said. "I felt like I needed to definitely decompress for at least two hours every night."
Suvari, who welcomed her first child, Christopher, with husband Michael Hope, last year, said being a mother offscreen made playing an abusive one even harder.
"I have played a parental figure before I became a mother in my own life, and it's very different," she explained. "I feel like you're kind of on the other side, and it was very heart-wrenching for me. It was very challenging."
Nevertheless, the project's complexity made the darkness worth it. "I think really just trying to wrap my head around how people can end up in situations like this. I was really fascinated by Laura, and when you first meet her in the beginning of the film, the situation she's in and how she meets this man who is seemingly so sure of himself, and so strong, so confident, and she puts everything into him and invests everything into this relationship and just how it goes so sour."
House of Chains was written and directed by Stephen Tolkin. The film premieres Saturday, Sept. 10 at 8 p.m. ET on Lifetime.