I recorded Cheerleader Nightmare off of Lifetime on July 29th, 2018.
According to the imdb, Cheerleader Nightmare was originally titled Teen Drone Stalker. Lifetime often changes the title of the movies that it acquires so I guess it’s not a shock that Teen Drone Stalker became Cheerleader Nightmare. And I guess I can understand the reasoning behind the title change. Teen Drone Stalker is a bit of an unwieldy title while Cheerleader Nightmare rolls right off the tongue. Add to that, as a title, Cheerleader Nightmare promises both cheerleaders and nightmares, which has been a successful Lifetime formula in the past.
That said, Teen Drone Stalker is actually a far more accurate title. Don’t get me wrong. There are cheerleaders in this film and one of them does get murdered. So, it’s not as if the new title is deceptive or anything. But, in the end, it’s the teen drone stalkers who are far more important to the story than the dead cheerleaders.
(Add to that, Teen Drone Stalker is a great name for a band. I’d probably call them TDS for short, however.)
Anyway, the story centers around Sophie (Taylor Murphy), who is her high school’s official photographer. She and her friend Mickey (Johnny Vistocky) use a drone to capture exciting action shots of the school’s football team and the cheerleaders. Sophia has a complicated history with cheerleading. On the one hand, her mother (Melissa Ponzio) is the cheerleading coach and never makes a secret of the fact that she wishes Sophie was on the team. On the other hand, Sophie wants to find her own identity and maintain her independence. Meanwhile, Sophie’s former best friend, Leah (Mia Stallard) is the head cheerleader and Sophie’s boyfriend, Tyler (Jeremy Shada), is on the football team. You would think that Sophie’s mother would be happy that Sophie’s dating a football player but, instead, she’s concerned because Tyler used to be a juvenile delinquent.
Got all that?
Good, because things are about to get complicated.
While using Mickey’s drone to spy on a party being given at the football coach’s house, Sophie catches Tyler making out with Leah! Then, someone murders Leah! Was it Tyler? Was it one of the other cheerleaders? Was it Mickey, who seems to have issues with popular students? Or …. could it have been Sophie!? Seriously, Sophie seems to have a lot of unresolved issues towards cheerleaders.
I’ll be honest. I spent the first 45 minutes or so convinced that Sophie would be revealed to be the murderer. I had it all worked out in my mind. I was convinced that Sophie suffered from blackouts, during which time she became a murderous named Sofia. Was I right? Was I wrong? I guess you’ll have to watch the film to find out.
That said, I did relate to the character of Sophie. When I was in high school, I was frequently told that I should I be a cheerleader but I never tried out because my sister was a cheerleader and I was all like, “I have to have my own identity!” Looking back, it seems like kind of a silly thing to worry about but, at the time, it was like my declaration of principles. Needless to say, I made my sister watch Cheerleader Nightmare with me so that I could get her opinion. Erin says that it was an okay movie but she also pointed out that, if the cheerleaders had done a better job, everyone would have been too full of school spirit to commit any murders. I have to agree with her on that.
Cheerleader Nightmare got off to a good start but it lost its way about halfway through. I did enjoy counting up all of the red herrings that the film introduced before revealing the identity of the killer but there’s only so much you can really do with a red herring. In the end, the identity of the murderer was not a big shock and it was hard not to feel that the murder would have been solved a lot earlier if Sophie and her mom had just stayed out of everyone’s way. Unfortunately, Cheerleader Nightmare was no The Cheerleader Murders.