Some people are cult people and some people aren’t.
Me, I’ve never been a cult person. Some of that’s because, as a result of my ADD, I get bored way too easily to spend hours listening to some deranged cult leader give a speech. Some of that is because I’m naturally suspicious of people who try too hard to convince me that they’re always happy and excited and enthusiastic, which is something that I’ve noticed people in cults seem to do. I’m a big believer in doing what you want. I’m also a big believer in the idea that I already know all the answers to life’s big questions so I’m really not vulnerable to people who claim otherwise. That’s one of the many advantages of believing in yourself.
Another reason why I could never join a cult is because I hate the idea of living on a commune. The whole idea of being forced to create a community with a bunch of strangers just creeps me out. Add to that, I’m not a fan of living in impersonal dorms and I don’t really like doing farmwork and I’m not into sing-alongs around the campfire. I certainly don’t like camping and or living in buildings that don’t have any running water. Commune living is just not for me and fortunately, that will always make me immune to being brainwashed into joining a cult.
In the Lifetime film Desperate Widows, Dianne (Allison McAtee) insists that she doesn’t run a commune. Sure, it may look like a commune and it may have a lot of commune-style rules and everyone acts like they’re living on a commune but Dianne insists that she actually runs a …. wait for it …. a mommune! It’s a retreat for moms and their daughters, one that is especially popular with moms who have just lost a husband. It can do wonderful things for people, just as long as everyone’s willing to follow the rules. For one thing, the moms and daughters are separated and sent to live in separate dorms. For another thing, everyone has to do manual labor for most of the day and anyone who fails to take it seriously will run the risk of being put in isolation.
BUT IT’S TOTALLY NOT A COMMUNE!
As soon as recently widowed Paige (Justine Eyre) and her teenage daughter, Allie (Olivia Stuck) arrive at the comm …. sorry, excuse me …. mommune, they suspect that there’s something not quite right about the place. Allie figures it out pretty quickly. It takes Paige a day or two longer, despite the fact that Paige is a best-selling writer of thrillers and you would figure that she would know better than to trust a bunch of secretive people living out in the middle of nowhere. Soon, both Paige and Allie want to leave but it turns out that leaving is not going to be easy. This mommune is full of all sorts of sordid secrets that dangerous people do not want revealed to the rest of the world.
This Lifetime film required a healthy suspension of disbelief. The same can be said about most Lifetime films but this one required even more than usual. That said, if you can accept that Paige would ever have been stupid enough to go to the mommune in the first place, Desperate Widows is entertaining. I liked Allison McAtee’s performance as the sinister Dianne and Justine Eyre and Olivia Stuck were believable as mother and daughter. What I really appreciated is that it didn’t take long for Paige to be like, “This place is messed up,” and to realize that she needed to find her daughter and escape.
Most importantly, Desperate Widows served as a warning against commune living. That’s a message that everyone can get behind.