In a Lifetime film, the value of social media often depends on what time of year the film is taking place.
If it’s a Christmas film, social media is an amazingly helpful tool that helps single young women meet handsome carpenters and which also allows them to keep tabs on whether or not their hometown is going to be able to afford to put on the annual nativity pageant. Want to find the perfect Santa Claus? Well, just hop on Facebook and look up Kris Kringle! Want to discover that, because of a snow storm, you’re going to have to spend the Holidays in a Christmas-themed inn? Just check on twitter!
Of course, any other time of year, social media is portrayed as being the tool of the Devil. Social media is how con artists steal identities and how psychotic children track down their birth mothers. Social media is how lies are spread and how revenge porn pics are sent to everyone on Sunday morning and how stalkers can keep track of your every move. With the exception of the films that air during Christmas, Lifetime spends most of the year telling us that we all need to get off the grid and consider learning more about the Luddites. Perhaps we should all go to a religious retreat in the French wine country. That’s something that my sister Erin and I have often discussed doing. I don’t drink wine but I do speak French. She doesn’t speak French but she does drink wine. A year living offline, we’d make it work and, by the standards of Lifetime, we would both be a lot safer.
Take Instakiller, for instance. Harper (Lizze Broadway) is an aspiring fashion designer and influencer and her account on …. wait for it …. Instapixer (!) has suddenly become very popular. (One thing that I always enjoy about these Lifetime films is seeing the names that they come up with for the movie’s version of real-life social media companies. Degrassi featured two of my favorites, Facerange and MyRoom.) Unfortunately, Harper also has a stalker. He sends her creepy messages. He follows her as she walks home from school and takes pictures. (When confronted by a bystander, he smashes the man’s face into a car hood.) When Harper’s mom, Layla (Kelly Sullivan), forces Harper to delete her account, the stalker sits in his car and screams. Soon, the stalker is attacking people with golf clubs and strangling them with jumper cables.
Who is Harper’s stalker? Could it be one of the customers at her family’s coffee shop? Could it be one of Harper’s coworkers or even one of her friends? There’s one obvious suspect but he’s so obvious that you know from the minute he shows that he’s going to turn out to be geeky but not dangerous. To be honest, the identity of Harper’s stalker is not that shocking, just because there aren’t that many suspects. Once you dismiss all of the obvious red herrings, there’s really only one possible suspect left.
But no matter! Instakiller is an entertaining Lifetime film, which is to say that if you enjoy Lifetime films, you’ll probably enjoy this one. Kelly Sullivan and Lizze Broadway are believable as mother-and-daughter and I imagine that a lot of moms will watch this movie and find themselves totally relating to Sullivan’s character and her confusion as to why Harper is willing to put her life in danger just to have an Instapixer account. Seriously, though, once you hit a thousand followers, the risks are totally worth it….