Cleaning Out The DVR: Off The Rails (dir by David Jackson)


(Hi there!  So, as you may know because I’ve been talking about it on this site all year, I have got way too much stuff on my DVR.  Seriously, I currently have 205 things recorded!  I’ve decided that, on January 15th, I am going to erase everything on the DVR, regardless of whether I’ve watched it or not.  So, that means that I’ve now have only two months to clean out the DVR!  Will I make it?  Keep checking this site to find out!  I recorded Off The Rails off of the Lifetime Movie Network on March 26th!)

Oh, poor Nicole (Hannah Barefoot)!

When we first meet her, Nicole is recovering from amnesia.  She knows that she was injured in a catastrophic train derailment.  She knows that she’s married to Mark (Thomas Beaudoin), who seems like the perfect husband.  She knows that her therapist is Dr. Teres (Andrea Cirie).  She knows that she’s oddly obsessed with maps and that she teaches at the local college.  However, she is still not totally sure what her life was like before the accident.  And sometimes, she wonders if she can actually trust Mark.  For instance, she suspects that, while she was in her coma, Mark added onto the deck in the back yard.  Mark swears that it was her idea but why would she want to do that?

Nicole is also convinced that she has never had a Facebook account.  She swears that she’s never been on Twitter.  She doesn’t even know what Instagram is!  “You call me a Luddite!” she says to one of her friends, “I do remember that!”  But, if that’s true, why do all of her friends swear that they’ve talked to her on Facebook?  And why are all sorts of sleazy men approaching her, all claiming that they met her online?

That’s not all Nicole has to worry about.  There’s also the weird visions that she’s having, many of them involving being watched by a menacing-looking raven.  And then there’s the French Canadian photographer (Andreas Damm).  Nicole is not sure who he is but she sure did take a lot of happy pictures with him.  Could it be that she wasn’t as happy in her marriage as both Mark and her therapist insist?

There were some parts of Off The Rails that I really liked.  The story was, at times, genuinely intriguing and I always appreciate it whenever Lifetime films mix a little surrealism in with the melodrama.  The first part of the film does a very good of creating a properly ominous atmosphere and Hannah Barefoot does a good job portraying Nicole’s confusion and paranoia.  Obviously, it demanded a considerable suspension of disbelief to buy into the idea that Nicole could possibly be so ignorant of social media in 2017 but then again, that’s Lifetime for you.  Social media is always the source of all evil in the world of Lifetime.

Unfortunately, there’s a twist at the end of Off The Rails that simply does not work and it actually cheapens the film a bit.  I understand that it’s a Lifetime film and that, therefore, things can never end on too dark of a note but, in this case, the movie’s story demanded and deserved an ending that was just a bit more bittersweet.

Still, I’d recommend Off the Rails.  Up until that final shot, it’s a nicely done Lifetime mystery.  You’ll probably figure out the solution early but it’s still entertainingly melodramatic and just weird enough to be worthwhile.

 

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