If you want to see something creepy, just check out the first 5 minutes of the 1996 television film, Lying Eyes.
It takes place at a high school basketball game. While the team is heading into the locker room for halftime (which is something that I assume they do in basketball, though I’ve never actually watched a game so I could be wrong), the cheerleaders run out onto the court and do their routine. The camera switches back and forth from closeups of the cheerleader’s backsides to shots of a handsome man named Derek Bradshaw (Vincent Irizarry) sitting in the stands and obviously enjoying the show.
The scene already has a leering quality but what makes it disturbing is the little smile that comes to Derek’s face while he watches the cheerleaders. Derek maybe handsome but he’s also quite a bit older than the teenagers who are sitting around him. It’s obvious that he’s come to the game alone and it’s also obvious, just from the way that he’s watching, that he didn’t come because he’s a fan of high school basketball. Instead, he’s there to ogle the cheerleaders.
Later, one of the cheerleaders — Amy Miller (Cassidy Rae) — is driving home. We’ve already seen a scene where Amy explains to her best friend, Dana (Ashlee Levitch), that she’s tired of dating immature teenage boys. While Amy’s sitting at a stop light, another car rear ends her. The driver gets out and checks to see if Amy’s okay. The other driver is ….. DEREK!
Amy is immediately charmed by Derek, especially after he offers to pay for the damage done to her bumper so that she won’t have to report the accident to her insurance company. Later, when Amy goes to pick up her car from the garage that Derek recommended, she discovers that not only has the bumper been replaced but that Derek also had the mechanic install a CD player! (Remember, this movie was made in 1996.) And Derek’s given her a bundle of CDs! When she thanks him, he smiles and says that he hopes that she likes Hootie and the Blowfish.
(Seriously, he says that. I’m not joking.)
Anyway, Derek and Amy are soon having an affair. Amy thinks that Derek is the best and even accepts his word when he explains that he’s married but he and his wife are separated. However, everyone else in Amy’s life is suspicious of Derek and so are we, because we’ve seen a 100 movies just like this one! Plus, we saw Derek acting all pervy at the high school basketball game….
Soon, Amy’s grades are slipping and her friends are getting mad at her because she’s no longer spending any time with them. However, Amy has other things to be concerned about. For instance, someone leaves a note in her mailbox, calling her a whore. Someone keeps calling the house. Someone takes a knife to her new leather jacket. Apparently, someone is not happy about Amy’s relationship and, even after Amy breaks it off with Derek, the harassment continues.
Who is out to get Amy? Could it be Derek? Could it be Derek’s wife? Could it be Dana or maybe even Dana’s older sister, Jennifer (Alison Smith)? Or could it be someone who Amy doesn’t even suspect?
Lying Eyes is an enjoyably trashy film. This is one of those movies where you know exactly what’s going to happen but the film itself is just so cheerfully melodramatic that you can’t help but get sucked into it. Though the film was originally made for NBC, it has since become a Lifetime staple. This really is the ultimate Lifetime film. Unfortunately, it’s not as a good as it used to be because, the last few times I watched the film, I noticed that the original kickass soundtrack had been replaced by a generic soundtrack. I get that this sort of thing happens and it has to do with whether or not the distributor feels like its worth the trouble to pay for the rights to the songs that originally appeared in the film. But seriously, the generic music that replaced the original soundtrack often doesn’t even go with the scenes in which it is heard. This is especially true of the film’s opening, where the cheerleaders’ opening routine was obviously choreographed to totally different music from what is now playing in the background.
On the plus side, Vincent Irizarry is both perfectly sleazy and perfectly charming in the role of Derek and Cassidy Rae is relatable and sympathetic at Amy. Falling for a guy who is obviously wrong but refusing to listen to your friends and family because you want the fantasy to be true? Seriously, we’ve all been there. That was pretty much my entire life when I was 18 years old. Rae does such a great job that you don’t even mind that Amy often behaves like an idiot. (Seriously, if someone is stalking you, threatening to kill you, and forcing your car off the road, you might want to consider not shrugging it off.)
Lying Eyes is a good, trashy melodrama and if you’re looking for some Valentine’s Day counter programming, it’s on Amazon Prime. I just wish they would bring back the original soundtrack.