There’s a scene in Dangerous Medicine in which Daphne (Leeann Van Mol), the physical therapist who has abandonment issues, is seen looking up something online. The camera swings around so that we can see exactly what she’s looked up.
“HOW TO AMPUTATE AN ARM” the website reads. Underneath the big bold headline, there are drawings of an arm, highlighting the exact places where one should start chopping.
Having looked at the website and (we hope) studied it carefully, she then proceeds to get a hacksaw before heading into the bedroom, where her latest patient is tied to the bed.
That’s the moment that I shouted, “Oh my God, this is one of the greatest Lifetime films ever!”
And seriously, it is. This is why people like me watch Lifetime films. We watch them for scenes like this. We watch them for wonderfully self-aware moments like this, where an unstable but determined character quickly reads up on how to do something insanely complicated and then proceeds to try to do it in what will undoubtedly be the messiest way possible. Leave it to other networks to worry about the exact logic of amputation and hacksaws and removing limbs without anesthetic. Lifetime knows that we’re not watching for reality. We’re watching for gloriously over the top mayhem like this.
Dangerous Medicine delivers everything you could want from a Lifetime film. Tony (Chris Cimperman) is a high school track star who loses the use of his legs in a car crash. His mother, Ellen (Meredith Thomas), and his girlfriend, Jasmine (Choe Stafford), are determined to support him as he struggles to learn how to walk again. At first, Daphne seems like the perfect therapist but it turns out that she does have some issues. For instance, the first time that we see Daphne, a man is trying to kill her and, for a good deal of the film, that man keeps popping up and staring at Daphne as she goes about her day. There’s also the fact that Daphne sometimes seems to be determined to keep Tony away from both his mother and his girlfriend. Soon, both Ellen and Jasmine are suspicious of Daphne but Tony swears that she’s the best therapist ever. Are Ellen and Jasmine just being paranoid or has Daphne managed to brainwash her patient?
Well, you probably already know that answer to that. Actually, if you read the first four paragraphs of this review, you you already know the answer. The whole thing about looking up how to amputate an arm probably gave it away. But that’s okay. Part of the appeal of Lifetime films is that you know that the sexy stranger is always going to turn out to be dangerous, just as you know that the mother is always going to be right and usually, the loyal and bookish girlfriend is going to know what she’s talking about as well. From the start, you know that Daphne’s going to end up snapping. The entertainment comes from trying to predict what will be the exact moment that will push her over the edge and how many people she’ll end up killing as a result.
Dangerous Medicine, like all good Lifetime films, is a tremendous amount of fun. Leeann Van Mol especially deserves credit for going over the edge with style and keeping a straight face even when she’s carrying around a hacksaw. Dangerous Medicine is everything that we love about Lifetime.