Also known as Sinister Savior, this film tells the story of Karen (Marci Miller), an emergency room doctor and a recovering alcoholic. One night, as she’s leaving an AA meeting, she’s attacked by an apparent mugger. Fortunately, for her, Daniel (Kelly Blatz), just happens to be walking by the scene. He steps forward and fights off Karen’s attacker, probably saving her life in the process. However, during the fight, Daniel’s arm gets slashed with a knife.
Being a doctor (and, according to her best friend, also being way too trusting), Karen takes Daniel back to her house so that she can take a look at his wounded arm. Daniel seems friendly-enough. He says that he’s in real estate and that the reason he was in the neighborhood was because he was checking out potential properties to buy and sell. Daniel also tells Karen that he’s never been in a real fight before.
Daniel, it turns out, already has several scars. When Karen notices them and asks about them, Daniel says that he got them in a bar fight. But …. uhmm, Daniel ….. you said you’d never been in a real fight before. Daniel quickly explains that he wasn’t actually in the fight, he just got stabbed accidentally. That may make sense but, even if Daniel isn’t lying about his past history, why does he have pictures of Karen’s house on his phone?
For those of us watching, red flags start to go up as soon as Daniel shows up. That’s because this is a Lifetime film and, if you’ve seen enough of these films, you know better than to trust any good Samaritans. The fact that this movie is called Sinister Stalker gives us another reason not trust Daniel. When Daniel starts to talk about how much he and Karen have in common and makes a rather awkward joke about how they must have a connection, those of us in the audience are like, “Get out of there!”
But, of course, if Karen did that, there wouldn’t be a movie. So, instead, Karen does stuff like take a shower while there’s a complete stranger hanging out in her home. Meanwhile, Daniel is walking around the house and basically invading her space. Various friends of Karen come by to check on her and Daniel tries to send them all away. We know that there’s something not right about Daniel. It’s just a question of how long it’s going to take Karen to figure that out as well.
Though the story may be familiar, Sinister Stalker does experiment a little with the typical Lifetime format. As opposed to most Lifetime films, which usually take place over several days and typically feature a lot of visits to the neighborhood coffeeshop and at least one yoga class, the action in Sinister Stalker takes place in one location and over the course of just one night. The film almost seems to play out in real time, which actually pays off surprisingly well. The film actually does a petty good job of generating some suspense as to how long it’s going to take Karen to figure out that Daniel’s motives are not exactly pure.
Kelly Blatz is perhaps a little bit too obviously sinister as Daniel but Marci Miller does a great job in the role of Karen. She plays up Karen’s hesitation just enough to suggest that she had her doubts about Daniel from the beginning but, at the same time, she also feels that she has an obligation — as both a doctor and someone whose life was saved by Daniel — to check out the wound on his arm. In the small but important role of an alcoholic who keeps calling Karen for help, Lew Temple makes a good and sympathetic impression.
Sinister Stalker plays with the typical Lifetime format and, for the most part, it pays off. Watch it the next time you’re tempted to let a complete stranger hang out in your house for a few hours.