Cleaning Out The DVR: Mommy’s Little Angel (dir by Curtis Crawford)

(I recorded Mommy’s Little Angel off of Lifetime on March 17th.)

Katie Porters (Morgan Nuendorf) may only be 12 years old but she’s already had to deal with a lot.

Her mother, Shawna (Kimberly Laferriere), loves her and swears that she would do anything to protect Katie but she’s also a pill-popping drug addict who is constantly on the verge of losing control.  It doesn’t help, of course, that Katie keeps hiding her mother’s pills.  It’s almost as if Kate is trying to get her mother in trouble…

Her father, Darren (Peter Michael Dillon), just spent three years in jail for physically abusing Shawna.  Darren says that he just wants to be with his daughter but Shawna wants nothing to do with him and moves to a different town to get away from him.  Of course, Darren always manages to track Katie and Shawna down.  That probably has something to do with the fact that Katie is always letting him know where she and her mother are hiding.

Katie’s a bad kid with bad thoughts but no one realizes it, largely because she’s only 12 years old and she always knows how to smile and be charming.  For instance, Shawn’s cousin, Nikki (Amanda Clayton), thinks that Katie’s the best!  And Katie likes Nikki, too!  Of course, what’s not to like?  Nikki has a nice big house and, because she’s desperate to be a mother herself, spoils Katie.  In fact, Katie even tells Shawna that she doesn’t care if anything bad ever happens to Shawna.  “I’ll go live with Aunt Nikki,” Katie says.

What a little brat!

Anyway, something bad does eventually happen to Shawna.  She ends up getting tossed off of the top level of a parking garage.  The police and everyone else assume that Shawna committed suicide.  Of course, what they don’t know is that 1) Darren murdered Shawna and 2) Katie arranged for Shawna to be murdered.

So now, Katie is finally living with her Aunt Nikki!  And you would think that Katie would be happy about this!  But no, Katie’s never happy.  As soon as she moves in, Katie comes to realize that there’s all sorts of things competing for Nikki’s attention.  Whether it’s her job or even her husband, Nikki always seems to be putting other things ahead of Katie.

And then, Nikki discovers that she’s pregnant!

Guess how Katie responds to that?

In recent years, Lifetime has shown a surprisingly large number of psycho kid films.  They really do tap into feelings and fears to which all women can relate.  What if your child does grow up to be a psycho?  Also, what if your friend or cousin does a terrible job parenting and then dies and suddenly, you find yourself obligated to take care of their murderous children?  It’s a concern because, deep down, we’re always convinced that most people have no idea how to raise children.

The thing that distinguishes Mommy’s Little Angel from other Lifetime movie about killer kids is just how efficient Katie is in her villainy.  I mean, Katie doesn’t mess around.  When she decides to set a house on fire, it’s obvious that she knows exactly what she’s doing.  When it’s time for Katie to try to convince Nikki to kill for her, Katie chants, “Kill him, Nikki.  Kill him…”  It’s not just that little Katie is evil.  It’s that Katie’s so happy about it!  It all leads to a film that’s enjoyably melodramatic and over-the-top, even by the wonderful standards of Lifetime.

Seriously, don’t turn your back on Katie…

Cleaning Out The DVR: Cradle Swapping (dir by Michael Feifer)

(Hi there!  So, as you may know because I’ve been talking about it on this site all year, I have got way too much stuff on my DVR.  Seriously, I currently have 186 things recorded!  I’ve decided that, on January 15th, I am going to erase everything on the DVR, regardless of whether I’ve watched it or not.  So, that means that I’ve now have only have a month to clean out the DVR!  Will I make it?  Keep checking this site to find out!  I recorded Cradle Swapping off of Lifetime on May 7th, 2017!)

This year, there was a surprisingly large number of Lifetime films about babies either getting kidnapped or switched at birth.  If Lifetime films tend to use to melodrama to bring to life the fears of its audiences, 2017 was a year when everyone was scared about who or what their baby would grow up to be.

In Cradle Swapping, Grandma (played by Patrika Darbo) takes one look at the baby that her daughter has brought home from the hospital and announces that it doesn’t look anything like her supposed parents.  Needless to say, neither Alicia (Amanda Clayton) or Ray (Brandon Barash) are happy to hear this.  They argue that all babies look the same.

No, Grandma says, all of her babies looked exactly like her.

Of course, that’s not the only time that Grandma points this out.  Later, after Alicia and Ray have just returned from the hospital with their baby, Grandma takes another look at it and announces that the baby still looks nothing like her mother or father.  This time, Alicia gets even more upset about it.  “Way to go,” everyone tells Grandma.

Grandma actually has a pretty good point but it’s understandable why Alicia doesn’t want to hear it.  Alicia already has a lot to deal with.  Baby Hannah refuses to look her in the eye.  Baby Hannah refuses to breastfeed.  Baby Hannah is always crying.  When Alicia and Ray take Hannah to the hospital, a doctor demands to know if Alicia has ever used drugs.  “Just in college,” Alicia replies, “experimenting.”

It turns out that Hannah is going through opioid withdrawal!

At first, Ray blames Alicia for taking prescription medication.  Alicia blames Ray for not being supportive.  Maybe they should be redirecting their blame at hospital…

See, it turns out that Hannah is not their baby.  Instead, their baby was taken by the incredibly sleazy Tony (Tyler Johnson), who left another baby in her place.  Getting little help from the hospital or the authorities, Alicia and Ray take matters into their own hands, setting out to track down Tony and find their baby.  However, what they don’t know is that Tony is involved in a much bigger conspiracy than they even suspect….

I have to admit that I liked Cradle Swapping more than I thought I would.  Amanda Clayton and Brandon Barash were sympathetic as the parents and they were easy to relate to.  I appreciated the fact that they started the movie in over their heads and they were still in over their heads when the movie ended.  They never turned into action heroes or superhuman investigators.  Instead, they were just two ordinary parents trying to find their baby.  You want them to succeed and the end result is an above average Lifetime film.