Poor Whitney Manning!
As the central character of the Lifetime film, Homekilling Queen, Whitney (played by Kaitlyn Bernard) only wants one thing. She wants to be homecoming queen! And really, why shouldn’t she be? She believes that she’s the most popular girl in the entire school, despite the fact that no one actually seems to like her. Add to that, she’s rich and serving as homecoming queen is practically a family tradition! Her mother, Connie (Ashley Jones), was homecoming queen. So was her grandmother, Evelyn (Jennifer Dale). Both Connie and Evelyn are determined that Whitney will be the next homecoming queen. Connie’s even taught her how to do a proper pageant wave.
How determined is Whitney? She’s so determined that, over the summer, she even murdered one of her rivals! That’s determination!
Still, things are never quite as easy as they should be. For instance, Whitney may think that she has the election all sewn up but Natasha Hart (Kayleigh Shikanai) feels differently. Natasha is sick of the school being run by mean girls like Whitney. Natasha decides that she’s going to run against Whitney!
At first, Whitney is dismissive of Natasha and her campaign. Everyone knows that Natasha had a drug problem in the past. Apparently, she drove her car into the bleachers while high on oxy. (This automatically makes Natasha cooler than anyone I went to high school with.) However, Natasha is now clean and sober and looking to make the world a better place. To Whitney’s shock, Natasha starts to pick up support for her campaign. Even after Whitney sends everyone in school a nude picture that’s been photoshopped to look like Natasha, Natasha’s campaign continues to build momentum.
Well, if photoshopped nudes won’t knock Natasha out of the race, how about planting drugs on her? And if Whitney has to murder someone to get those drugs …. well, that’s politics.
It’s an interesting film. On the one hand, you’re supposed to dislike Whitney, Connie, and Evelyn. And it is true that Whitney does commit a murder or two. On the other hand, they’re all so determined to win that homecoming election that you can’t help but admire the level of their dedication. If it means giving students gifts to win their vote, Whitney’s willing to do it. If it means seducing the school’s creepy principal to keep her daughter from being disqualified, Connie’s going to do just that. Kaitlyn Bernard, Ashley Jones, and Jennifer Dale all really dig into their roles and do a great job at capturing the unhinged obsessiveness of their characters. Jennifer Dale is especially a marvel as the coldy pragmatic Evelyn. When she glares at anyone who would stand in her granddaughter’s way, you’re left with no doubt that Evelyn is not someone who you would want to mess with. She’s scary but you would definitely want her to have your back in a confrontation.
Also doing a good job were Kayleigh Shikanai and Krista Bridges, who were perfectly cast as mother and daughter. Every scene between them rang true and, watching them, I was reminded of the way that my mom and I would relate to each other. They brought an unexpected sense of reality to a film that could have otherwise just been an enjoyably over-the-top melodrama.
Homekilling Queen was a lot of fun and, given the number of times that Lifetime rebroadcasts all of their films over the year, it’s one to keep an eye out for.