When one of your in-laws is a psycho, it’s going to lead to some tense family gatherings. There’s just no way to get around it. Have you seen those Vrylar commercials where people are screaming at random strangers or the mother is locked away in the kitchen and sobbing all the way through her daughter’s birthday party? Well, that’s nothing compared to what it’s like to have a murderer drop by a wedding, a reunion, or even a funeral.
From the start of Psycho Sister-in-Law, we know that Zara Downes (Lydia Hearst) is not the ideal in-law. This is largely due to the seeing Zara murder a woman in Las Vegas. Now, admittedly, the woman that Zara murdered was kind of mean and she was keeping Zara from finding success as an actress but it’s 2020 and there are other ways to deal with an annoying co-worker. Murder is never the answer!
Zara, of course, claims that she has had a difficult life. Her father was very rich man but Zara grew up without him. Instead, he gave most of his attention and affection to his son, Nick (Brando Eaton) and his fiancée, Callie (Diora Baird). That’s largely due to the fact that Zara was the result of an affair that he had while married to Nick’s mother. Still, when Mr. Downes dies, Zara is invited to the reading of the will.
When the will is read, Zara is annoyed to discover that she’s inherited less than both Callie and Nick. So, Zara sets out to ingratiate herself with Nick and his pregnant wife, Haley (Andrea Bowen). Zara also goes out of her way to try to upset Callie. When Nick says that he’s considering giving their father’s mansion to Callie, Zara puts her evil plans into overdrive.
And really, who can blame her? It’s a really nice house! I mean, I know I say that about almost every Lifetime film but Psycho Sister-In-Law really does feature one of the nicest mansions that I’ve ever seen. Obviously, I don’t want to compare myself to Zara because she does kill a few people over the course of the movie but still, I’m not totally sure that I wouldn’t go a little bit crazy over that house myself.
Most Lifetime films do require a certain suspension of disbelief. That’s something that we’ve all come to accept about the Lifetime genre and I’m certainly not going to complain about it. The fact that people in these movies often make stupid mistakes is one of the things that make them so entertaining. (And before we get too judgmental regarding fictional characters, who among us hasn’t made a stupid mistake or two?) That said, Psycho Sister-In-Law really stretches that suspension of disbelief to its breaking point. I mean, it’s nice that Haley wants everyone to get along but, at some point, you really do have to be willing to put your foot down and say, “Hey, if you’re obviously plotting on killing everyone in the house, you’re going to have to leave.” Zara’s villainy was so obvious that you really did have to wonder if Haley and Nick were just being intentionally blind to it.
That said, the melodrama is certainly embraced and the house is really nice. There’s a neat and unexpected twist towards the end of the movie and Lydia Hearst appears to be having a blast playing her murderous role. It’s a fun movie, even if Nick and Haley’s naiveté will have you rolling your eyes until you’re dizzy.