In the Lifetime film, Boyfriend Killer, there was a brief scene that I really liked and I think it epitomizes why I enjoyed this film and why I watch Lifetime films in general.
In the scene, Sandra Durro (Barbie Castro, who also produced this film) shares a hug with Krystal Kellers (Kate Mansi), her son’s girlfriend. The camera quickly cuts back and forth from Sandra’s face to Krystal’s face and the audience sees that both of them have the same look of irritation and loathing on their face. That really does get to a basic truth. A mom is never going to fully trust her son’s girlfriend. And a girlfriend is always going to suspect that her boyfriend’s mom is judging her.
Of course, Sandra has good reason to not fully trust Krystal. Boyfriend Killer opens with the death of Sandra’s son, Preston. Preston, who was handsome and charismatic and had a great life ahead of him, was killed in a car crash and Sandra suspects that it wasn’t an accident. When Sandra and her friend Carrie (Yancy Butler) are packing up Preston’s things, Krystal suddenly shows up and announces that she wants to help.
From the first minute we meet Krystal, there’s something off about her. She claims to be sad but her grief is almost too theatrical. It’s almost as if all she knows about being sad is what she’s seen in the movies. Add to that, Krystal claims that she and Preston were deeply in love, despite the fact that Preston rarely spoke about her. Krystal always seems to be sneaking around the house, searching for something. When Sandra gets near Preston’s computer, Krystal freaks out. Krystal explains that she and Preston both used that computer so if Sandra touches it, she’ll actually be invading Krystal’s privacy.
Well, what’s a mother to do?
It turns out that things between Preston and Krystal were never as perfect as Krystal claims. In fact, shortly before his death, Preston had told Krystal that he never wanted to see her again. Could that have had something to do with the fact that Krystal tried to convince Preston to kill her ex?
Sandra certainly thinks that it might. However, before Sandra can really pursue her suspicions, she has a funeral to attend, a funeral that Krystal makes all about her. It turns out that Krystal has an announcement to make, one that catches everyone by surprise…
Boyfriend Killer is a fun melodrama, one that pretty much epitomizes everything that we love about Lifetime movies. Barbie Castro is relatable and sympathetic as the grieving mother (you really want her to get justice for her son) and Yancy Butler provides good support as her friend. Kate Mansi, who played a similar role in Unwanted Guest, is a force of nature in the role of Krystal. Krystal is a familiar Lifetime character — the duplicitous temptress — but Mansi plays the role with such determination and drive that Krystal becomes a wonderfully hissable villain. Krystal is less defined by the bad things she does than by her total confidence that she’ll never get caught. You alternate between marveling at how far she’ll go and eagerly anticipating the moment when she gets her comeuppance.
Finally, I have to make special mention of Patrick Muldoon, who plays Sandra’s alcoholic ex-husband. To a certain group of pop culture fanatics, Muldoon will always be known as Jeff, the handsome college student whose smile and killer dance moves inspired Kelly to dump Zack on Saved By The Bell. (Hell, I would have dumped Zack for Jeff. Jeff’s in college, has a great smile, and is a manager at the Maxx. Zack’s in high school and spends all of his time with Screech.) And some are always going to think of Muldoon as being the doomed Zander Barclow in Starship Troopers.
However, over the past few years, Patrick Muldoon has given some seriously good performances. They haven’t gotten the attention that they deserve but he was excellent in both Patient Killer and Deadly Revenge. And he’s excellent here, playing a well-meaning guy who cannot shake his demons. It’s a good and poignant performance, one that elevates the film.
One of the great things about Lifetime is that they constantly rebroadcast all of their movies so keep an eye out for Boyfriend Killer!