Cleaning Out The DVR: Secrets In Suburbia (dir by Damian Romay)


(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 Secrets in Suburbia off of Lifetime on April 15th!)

Welcome to the Hell that is Lifetime suburbia!

Seriously, whenever you come across a Lifetime movie that has the word “suburbia” in the title, you know exactly what you’re getting: nice houses, nice clothes, beautiful people, adulterous affairs, and usually a little bit of murder.  Secrets in Suburbia features all of that and it’s an enjoyably over the top little movie.

We open with a nice house in a nice neighborhood on a nice night.  A party’s being thrown.  It’s a divorce party!  (Divorce parties, by the way, are super fun!  I’ve been encouraging all of my married friends to get divorced, just so we can all get together for the party afterward.)  The recently divorced wife gives a long and sarcastic speech.  Suddenly, her ex-husband shows up.  He’s waving a gun and rambling incoherently.  Then he shoots himself, which totally ruins the party.

(Choice dialogue: “I don’t need a dead body in my house!”)

We return to the party four more times over the course of the film, each time from the perspective of a different character and each time, we learn a little bit more about what happened on that night.  It’s a nicely done technique, one that forces us to pay close attention to the action unfolding on screen.  It certainly adds a layer of narrative complexity that one might not usually expect to find in a Lifetime film.

The majority of the film deals with Gloria (Brianna Brown) and her husband, Phil (Joe Williamson).  Gloria has a nice house, nice children, and a nice dog.  Phil has a lot of charm and a massive chip on his shoulder about the fact that, unlike most of his friends and neighbors, he wasn’t born rich.  Phil, it quickly turns out, has more than a little trouble being a faithful husband.  No need to be shocked by that.  It’s Lifetime and it’s suburbia.

One day, Gloria comes home to discover that her dog has been poisoned.  While she rushes the dog to the vet, she gets into a serious car accident.  It’s hard not to notice that, underneath all of his charm, Phil doesn’t seem to be that concerned about his wife.  Maybe it’s the fact that he keeps ignoring the doctor’s advice.  Maybe it’s the fact that he doesn’t seem to care about the dead dog.  Or maybe it has something to do with the antifreeze that he keeps putting in her drinks…

This is a movie that’s all about revenge, especially after Gloria learns that Phil has been cheating with her friends.  To be honest, the plot doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.  Things get pretty crazy towards the end of the film.  That’s not a complaint, of course.  In general, the more melodramatic and crazy a movie like this gets, the better.  Secrets in Suburbia goes totally batshit crazy, which is exactly what it needed to do.  It’s all terrifically entertaining and in the end, that’s all that really matters.

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