Cleaning Out The DVR: A Killer In My Home (dir by Farhad Mann)


When the lockdown was first announced down here in Texas, my initial reaction was, “Well, at least I can clean out my DVR now….”

Unfortunately, it didn’t really work out like that.  First off, I got caught up trying to work my way through my collection of DVDs and Blu-rays.  Then, I ended up getting distracted by my efforts to binge my way through The Sopranos, Oz, and Deadwood.  And suddenly, here we are!  It’s nearly June.  The lockdown is in the process of ending.  And I’ve barely made a dent on working my way through the 230 programs that I have on my DVR.

Earlier today, I decided to finally get to work by watching the Lifetime film, A Killer In My Home.  A Killer In My Home originally aired on the Lifetime Movie Network back in February.  I was on vacation at the time so my wonderful sister was nice enough to record it for me.  Watching it was an interesting experience, just because there weren’t any COVID-19-themed commercials.  Instead, there were a ton of commercials for Tom Steyer and Mike Bloomberg.  I mean, seriously — whenever you think about how bad 2020 may be right now, just remember that, even before everything shut down, we had to spend a month and a half dealing with the Tom and Mike charm offensive.

As for the film itself, it tells the story of Allison Wright (Bree Williamson) and her daughter, Hollie (Hannah Vandenbygaart).  Allison and Hollie appear to have the perfect life.  Not only do they live in a huge house but Hollie appears to have the perfect future ahead of her.  Soon, she’ll graduate high school, get a nice car, and go to a good college.  But then, Allison’s husband and Hollie’s father suffers a heart attack!  While he’s dying in the hospital, he’s visited by Jenna Fallon (Krista Bridges) and her withdrawn son, Joshua (Percy Hynes White).  When Allison demands to know why Jenna is visiting her dying husband, Jenna explains that she had an affair with Allison’s husband and Joshua was the result.  Apparently, Allison’s husband spent years visiting and financially supporting Jenna and Joshua.  Now that he’s dead, Jenna and Joshua have no one left to provide for them.

Now, if you were Allison, what would you do in this situation?

Would you say, “Tough shit, you whore.  Get out of here and take that bastard with you!”

Or

Would you say, “Why don’t you come live in our guest house?”

Now, to the film’s credit, Allison’s initial reaction is to tell Jenna and Joshua to go away.  However, a few weeks later, Allison has a change of heart and she allows Jenna and Joshua to move into the guest house.  Jenna and her son are supposed to stay away from the main house and out of Allison and Hollie’s lives.  Needless to say, things don’t work out like that.

Soon, strange things start to happen.  There’s a break-in at the house.  Despite her efforts to ignore him, Joshua still tries to talk his half-sister.  Jenna starts to throw biker-populated parties at the guest house.  Despite the fact that she claims to have no money, Jenna is able to buy her son an expensive jeep.  Allison comes to realize what we realized from the beginning: Jenna has sinister motives of her own!  The only question is whether or not Joshua shares those motives or if he’s just a pawn trapped in a game he didn’t intend to play.

A Killer In My Home is okay.  If I’m not as enthusiastic about it as I am about other Lifetime films, it’s because I never believed that Allison would 1) allow Jenna to stay in the guest house and 2) allow her to continue to stay in the guest house even after it became obvious that some seriously strange stuff was going on.  Allison lost my sympathy by doing that.  However, I did really like Krista Bridges’s performance as the unstable Jenna and I though Hannah Vandenbygaart gave a good and sympathetic performance as the daughter who is basically just sick of dealing with the adults in her life.  I could definitely relate.

Finally, the house was nice.  Lifetime movies always feature the nicest houses and A Killer In My Home featured one of the best!

LifetimeFilm Review: The Sweetheart (a.k.a. Dating A Sociopath) (dir by Max McGuire)


Is this Canadian film from 2018 called The Sweetheart or Dating a Sociopath?

It depends on where you first saw it.

When it was on Netflix, it was called The Sweetheart.  However, when the film recently aired on Lifetime, the title had been changed to Dating A Sociopath.  We all know how much Lifetime loves to change titles and, in this case, I think they made the right move.  Dating A Sociopath just has a certain punch to it that The Sweetheart lacks.  The Sweetheart makes it sound like this is a film about one of those old women who always has 60 year-old candy sitting in a glass jar.  Whereas Dating A Sociopath tells you pretty much everything that you need to know about the film.

The sociopath of the title is Brian (John Cor), who is a personal trainer who apparently has a nice side gig going where he seduces wealthy women, spends all of their money, and murders them.  John Cor does a pretty good job of playing Brian, turning up the charm even while he’s doing some of the worst things imaginable.  As played by Cor, you can understand just how exactly Brian has managed to be such a successful con artist.  There’s also a great scene in which a jewelry store employee attempts to blackmail Brian and Brian responds not with the expected violence but instead by precisely explaining everything that he will do to the employee if he doesn’t keep quiet.  In this scene, Brian is both charismatic and dangerous and scary as Hell.

Brian’s latest target is Samantha (Jessalyn Gilsig), who is currently separated from her well-meaning but alcoholic husband.  Samantha thinks that Brian is the best but her oldest daughter, Jane (Hannah Vandenbygaart), is immediately suspicious of him  Of course, Jane has problems of her own to deal with.  Thanks to her father’s lack of sobriety and basic driving skills, Jane has a broken leg and is forced to spend most of the movie hopping around on either crutches or using a cane.  Making things even worse for Jane is the fact that Brian keeps messing with her medication, the better to keep Jane in constant pain and to also fool everyone into thinking that she’s become a pill-popping drug addict.

And I have to say that, as someone who has broken her ankle on multiple occasions and who knows just how Hellish the healing process can be without painkillers, nothing made me dislike Brian more than those scenes where he would sneak into Jane’s room and switch out her medication while she was sleeping.  I mean, if I didn’t already know it from the title, those scenes would be all the proof that I needed to know that Brian was a sociopath.  At the same time, those scenes also firmly put me on Jane’s side.  By the time Jane finally stood up for herself and started her own investigation into Brian’s past, I was ready to jump and cheer.

Dating A Sociopath is a pretty entertaining Lifetime film, even if it wasn’t originally made for Lifetime.  John Cor and Hannah Vandenbygaart are both well-cast in the two most important roles and if nothing else, the film will encourage anyone to think twice before dating a sociopath.  Even a charming one.

What Lisa Watched This Morning #192: Lethal Soccer Mom (dir by Max McGuire)


This morning, I watched the latest Lifetime premiere movie, Lethal Soccer Mom!

Why Was I Watching It?

Seriously, how could anyone resist a movie with a title like Lethal Soccer Mom?

Actually, according to the imdb, this film was originally titled Sidelined so I’m going to guess that Lifetime changed the title so it could fit in with their “lethal” series of films.  Personally, I think Lifetime probably made the right choice here.  Sidelined isn’t bad but Lethal Soccer Mom just demands to be watched.

For the record, the film itself actually premiered on Friday night but since I was out, I set the DVR to record it.

What Was It About?

Kate (Tanya Clarke) and her teenage daughter, Cameron (Sarah Grey) have just moved into a new home and Cameron is starting at a new school.  Cameron can’t wait to join her school’s soccer team but she soon discovers that the team’s star player, Hailey (Hannah Vandenbygaart) views her as being a rival.  Complicating things is the fact that Hailey’s mother, Rhonda (Christina Cox), is the coach of the team and worries that Cameron might overshadow her daughter.

As messy as that sounds, it gets even messier when it turns out that Rhonda is willing to do anything make her daughter a star.  Soon, Cameron is being pushed down stairs, getting beaten up at practice, and even her grades are being tampered with!  How far is Rhonda willing to go to keep Cameron off the team?

Well, the title of the movie is Lethal Soccer Mom

What Worked?

When your movie has a title like Lethal Soccer Mom, you’re being promised a certain amount of melodramatic excess and this film certainly delivered on that promise.  Tanya Clarke, Christina Cox, Sarah Grey, and Hannah Vandenbygaart delivered a quartet of fine performances.  Christina Cox, in particular, really seemed to be having a lot of fun as she did everything from seducing her daughter’s boyfriend to chasing her daughter’s rival around the high school with a bat.  A Lifetime film is usually only as good as its villain and Cox turned the coach into a great one!

Lethal Soccer Mom also did a good job of suggesting that, under different circumstances, both Kate and Cameron could probably be just as obsessive and dangerous as Rhonda.  In fact, the only person who didn’t seem to be way too obsessed with soccer was Hailey.

What Did Not Work?

It all worked!  This is the type of Lifetime films that I love: outrageous, melodramatic, over the top, a little bit silly, and consistently entertaining.

“Oh my God!  Just like me!” Moments

I never played soccer, both because of my asthma and also because it always seemed like everyone I knew was playing soccer and, even at a young age, I always had to be different.  Two of my sisters did play but, when we were growing up, my family moved around too much for any of us to ever get caught up in too much team drama.  Fortunately, my mom never had to become a full-fledged soccer mom.  However, because I was in love with dancing, my mom did spend several years dealing with other dance moms.  Let me tell you, crazy soccer moms have got nothing on crazy dance moms.

Lessons Learned

Soccer makes people crazy.  Of course, we all already knew that…