Lifetime Film Review: Sisters For Life (dir by Anna Elizabeth James)


It’s pledge week!

Bailee (Briana Fermia) really wants to join the college’s nicest sorority and she feels that she established a real connection with Jana (Maddison Bullock) when she interviewed to be selected for one of the opening spots.  Unfortunately, connection or not, there’s no room for Baileee because a legacy named Cori (Taylor Fono) has also applied.  Cori’s mom was in the sorority.  Cori’s sister was in the sorority.  Therefore, Cori gets to be in the sorority!  Yay!  College traditions are the best!

Bailee confronts Jana about how unfair it is that she wasn’t invited to join the sorority.  Jana feels guilty but what can she do?  There’s just no space.  But then, one night, Cori is attacked on campus.  Due to her injuries, Cori has to withdraw from the college and therefore the sorority.  Who can take Cori’s place?  Jana has a suggestion!

Bailee is now in the sorority and it soon turns out that she’s totally clingy and kind of psychotic.  She takes the whole idea of “sisters for life” very seriously and Bailee fully expects that Jana will be her sister for life.  Jana, meanwhile, is like, “This is my senior year, I want to hang out with my boyfriend, and I want to finish up my science project so I can have a career once I graduate.”  Soon, the other sorority sisters are getting drugged, framed, and attacked.  Even Jana’s boyfriend gets attacked in the shower!  Could it all somehow be connected to Bailee?

Of course it’s all connected to Bailee!  The film wastes no time in making it clear that Bailee is not to be trusted.  That’s the way Lifetime films work.  Anyone who shows up out of nowhere and suddenly starts demanding that you be her sister for life is going to turn out to be totally unhinged.  They always start out as slightly needy but seemingly sweet but, by the time the second commercial break rolls around, they’ve already put at least one person in the hospital or maybe even worse.  Some people will go to outrageous lengths to have a friend.

Anyway, Sisters for Life was a fun, if slightly predictable, Lifetime film.  As I’ve said in the past, though, the predictability is kind of the point.  Familiarity is one reason why Lifetime movies are so much fun to watch.  We’re always a few steps ahead of everyone else in the movie.  Towards the end of the film, one character announces, “You’re the meanest sister that I’ve ever had!” with a totally straight face and if you can’t appreciate the self-awareness behind a line like that than Lifetime films just aren’t for you.

Lifetime Film Review: Abduction Runs In The Family (dir by Jeff Hare)


If abduction runs in you family, it might be time to get a new family.

Or it might just be time to make sure that you’re really, really good at it because, if abduction is the family business, you don’t want to be embarrassed at the next family reunion.

Abduction Runs In The Family in not only an ominous way to describe your relations but it’s also the title of a Lifetime movie.  It stars Jessica Morris as Alyssa.  When she was a child, Alyssa was abducted by a man named Miles (James Hyde).  Miles did not abuse or deliberately harm Alyssa.  Instead, he wanted a replacement for his daughter, Sophie and, when he abducted her, he treated her as if she was his own daughter.  Alyssa was eventually rescued and Miles was sent to prison.  Now, years later, Alyssa has become famous as a result of talking and writing about how she was not only kidnapped but how she also eventually forgave Miles for what he did.  As the movie begins, Miles is about to get out of prison and Alyssa has a book coming out about her experience.  Finally, life is providing a chance for both of them to get on with their lives.  Miles, of course, has been given a restraining order as a condition of his parole.  He’s not to go anywhere near Alyssa or her daughter, Emma.

But then …. Emma disappears!

Emma’s been abducted and Miles is Alyssa’s number one suspect.  However, Miles has an alibi for the entire afternoon and he insists that he did not kidnap Emma.  If Miles didn’t do it, who did?  Can Alyssa rescue Emma with the help of the man who abducted Alyssa so many years ago?

Abduction Runs In The Family is an interesting Lifetime film, largely because it takes an unexpected approach to the relationship between Alyssa and Miles.  Alyssa insists that, after kidnapping her, Miles only treated her with kindness and fatherly love and the film keeps you guessing as to whether Alyssa’s memories are correct or if she’s still suffering from Stockholm Syndrome.  Miles is creepy, largely due to his past, and yet he still seems to be sincere in his desire to move on from his previous actions.  It leads to an interesting dynamic between the two characters, who are both well-played by Morris and Hyde.

Unfortunately, the solution to the mystery itself isn’t particularly satisfying.  This is one of those Lifetime mysteries where the film overall would have benefitted from a few more suspects because once you eliminate one them, there’s pretty much only one other person left.  And, unfortunately, a good deal of the film’s conclusion rests on the guilty party leaving a very obvious clue out in the open for everyone to see.

All that said, this is still a compelling Lifetime film, one that takes its story in some unexpected directions.  The final scene between Morris and Hyde is nicely acted and written.  This is definitely a Lifetime film to keep an eye out for.

Lifetime Film Review: V.C. Andrews’ Ruby (dir by Gail Harvey)


This time is the 1950s and the place is Louisiana.  Ruby Landry (Raechelle Banno) is a teenage girl who lives in a shack out on the Bayou.  She’s never known her mother.  She’s never known her father.  She does know her Grandmere, Catherine (Naomi Judd), who is a Bayou witch.  

Ruby might not know much but she knows how to paint.  One day, the owner of a New Orleans art gallery just happened to be driving by when he spots Catherine selling Ruby’s paintings on the side of the road.  He’s impressed, even though the paintings aren’t really that impressive.  He buys the paintings and then hangs them in his gallery.  Ruby can’t wait until she graduates high school so that she can move to New Orleans with her boyfriend, Paul Tate (Sam Duke).  Except … uh-oh!  Grandmere explains to Ruby that Paul is actually her half-brother so no, they can’t run off together.  That’s incest and that might be okay for the Ozarks but folks in the Bayous got standards.

As long as secrets are being shared, Grandmere also explains that Ruby’s father is a wealthy man named Pierre Dumas (Gil Bellow) and that Ruby actually has a twin sister, who we later learn is named Gisselle (and who is played by Karina Banno, the twin sister of Raechelle Banno).  Having dropped a lot of information on Ruby, Grandmere promptly dies.

Ruby inherits Grandmere’s shack and she still has the money that she made off of her paintings, which means that Ruby is now one of the richest people in the Bayou.  However, her alcoholic grandfather still wants to sell her to a local businessman so Ruby flees the Bayous, heads to New Orleans, and decides to live with Pierre!

Pierre is ecstatic to discover that he has another daughter.  Pierre’s wife (Lauralee Bell) is a bit less excited about it.  And Gisselle claims that she could hardly care less about her Bayou sister.  In fact, it seems like Ruby’s only ally is the housekeeper who, it turns out, knows all of the best voodoo priestesses in New Orleans….

Now, believe it or not, all of that happens within the first 30 minutes of RubyRuby is not a boring film.  In fact, one could claim that there’s almost too much going on.  No sooner has Ruby moved into the house than she’s hearing mysterious weeping coming from one of the bedrooms.  No sooner has Ruby started high school in New Orleans than she’s being set up for humiliation by her twin sister.  As soon as Ruby draws one of her classmates naked, you know that she’s going to end up in an asylum where a doctor will demand to know if she’s familiar with the term nymphomania.  Ruby is a big and messy film, one that embraces the melodrama with so much enthusiasm that it’s easy to overlook that the film really doesn’t make much sense and that a lot of the plot is dependent upon people not being particularly smart.

Ruby is one of the many recent Lifetime films to be adapted from a V.C. Andrews novel.  Now, of course, V.C. Andrews didn’t have anything to do with writing Ruby.  She died long before the book was written.  Instead, Ruby was written by ghost writer, pretending to be Andrews.  The plot ticks off all of the usual V.C. Andrews tropes with such precision that it’s hard not to be both impressed and amused.  White trash?  Yep.  Incest?  Yep.  Rich relatives?  Yep.  More incest?  Yep.  Big house?  Yep.  Twins?  Yep.  If you made use of a random V.C. Andrews plot generation, it would probably give you something similar to Ruby.

Ruby is silly fun.  It doesn’t reach the heights of Flowers in the Attic films but it’s still better than the films that Lifetime made about the Casteel family.  It was also the first of four films about Ruby and her family.  I’ve got the other three on the DVR and I’ll be watching and hopefully reviewing them before the month ends.

Lifetime Film Review: A Professor’s Vengeance (dir by Danny J. Boyle)


When aspiring writer Nicole Atkins (Lindsey Dresbach) returns to graduate school, she assumes that she’ll take a few creative writing courses and that will be it.  Unfortunately, her creative writing professor has come down with a case of mono and his replacement is Daniel Hudson (Ross Jirgl), an arrogant academic with whom Nicole previously had a torrid affair.  At time, of course, Nicole didn’t know that Daniel was married to a veterinarian named Valerie (Crystal Day).

It’s an awkward situation but Nicole hopes that her previous relationship with Daniel won’t be a factor in the grades that he gives her.  Daniel, meanwhile, seems to be perturbed by the fact that Nicole is getting close to another student, Brandon (Byran Bachman).  When one of Nicole’s papers gets an F, Daniel explains that he actually gave her an A.  Maybe, Daniel suggests, Brandon hacked into the system and changed her grade, all in an effort to make Daniel look bad.

Meanwhile, students are dying.  The police think that the deaths are due to accidental drug overdoses but the viewer knows that there’s a murderer stalking the campus and anyone who has ever had any sort of relationship with Daniel is a potential target!

If this was one of Lifetime’s “Wrong” films, A Professor’s Vengeance would have concluded with Vivica A. Fox showing up at the end and saying, “Looks like you slept with the Wrong Professor” or “You picked the Wrong Major.”  However, it’s not a part of the Wrong series, even if it does have a plot that feels like it would have been perfect for the particular franchise.  Also, like the majority of the Wrong films, A Professor’s Vengeance is a thoroughly fun and enjoyable Lifetime melodrama, full of lies, sex, death, and a smug man who you just can’t wait to see get his comeuppance.  It also has a twist ending and a nicely done dream sequence!  Seriously, what more could you ask for from a film like this?

Ross Jirgl is wonderfully hissable as the smug professor but the film is truly stolen by Crystal Day, playing the professor’s wife.  Day perfectly captures the fury of a woman who is smart enough to know better than to trust her husband and her building anger as it becomes obvious that he’s cheated on her is one of the best parts of the film.  Lindsey Dresbach is a likable heroine and, just as importantly, she’s also believable as someone who could write a short story that someone would actually want to publish.  Meanwhile, Bryan Bachman is very sweet and sympathetic as her well-meaning classmate.  Of course, it’s not a Lifetime film without a skeptical police detective and, in this film, that role is well-played by Kate Dailey.  If I ever committed a crime, I would not want to be questioned by Kate Dailey’s detective.  I would probably start naming names as soon as she shot me that first glare.

I very much enjoyed A Professor’s Vengeance.  It’s exactly the type of film that made me fall in love with Lifetime in the first place.

Lifetime Film Review: A Predator Returns: Stalker’s Prey 3 (dir by Colin Theys)


Bruce is back!

Played by Houston Stevenson, Bruce is the character at the center of Lifetime’s Stalker’s Prey trilogy.  Bruce is a handsome, charming young man who loves studying the ocean and who, even more importantly, loves studying sharks.  In fact, sharks tend to follow Bruce wherever he goes.  You have to understand that Bruce is one of those people who has to move around a lot.  He has a bad habit of becoming obsessed with teenage girls and then feeding his romantic rivals to his shark.  Poor Bruce.  If only he had more confidence in himself!  Anyway, you can usually find Bruce hanging out in the marina or near the bay.  Usually, he’ll be using an assumed name but you can always tell that it’s Bruce because he’s the guy who won’t stop talking about how much he loves the water.

A Predator Returns finds Bruce calling himself David and telling everyone that he’s an oceanography students.  He’s living in a deserted lighthouse and seems to be content to spend all of his time feeding his sharks.  However, when he spots a group of teenagers swimming near the lighthouse, everything pretty much goes downhill from there.  After he rescues the teenagers from his sharks, Bruce quickly becomes obsessed with Courtney (Leigha Sinotti).  Courtney is having trouble at home, largely because of her demanding mother and her overprotective father.  Soon, she’s running around with Bruce and staying out until five in the morning.  Courtney’s father takes an automatic dislike to Bruce.  Uh-oh, looks like someone’s about to become shark bait.

Bruce and Courtney’s relationship gets pretty serious.  How serious?  At one point, Bruce shouts, “BRUCE IS GOING TO BE A DADDY!”  Of course, by the time Bruce finds out about that, Courtney has already dumped him because he’s such an obvious psycho.  Bruce is determined to get Courtney back, even if it means framing her for murder.

Especially when compared to Stalker’s Prey and A Predator’s Obsession, there isn’t much shark action in A Predator Returns.  The shark’s do much an appearance, of course and they do eat a few unfortunate victims.  But, compared to the previous films, they still don’t play a huge role in the story.  That was a bit disappointing, as the sharks really were the main attractions in the previous two Stalker’s Prey films.  You really can’t introduce sharks and then just kind of push them to the side.  It’s the rule of Chekhov’s Shark.  If you introduce a shark during act one, it’s going to have to eat at least a dozen people by the end of act three.

That said, Huston Stevenson really dug into the role of crazy Bruce and he was well-matched by Leigha Sinotti as Courtney.  The film was full of winking references to Jaws and a host of other horror films and it’s impossible not to enjoy a film that’s so clearly in on the joke.  Director Colin Theys keeps the action moving quickly and the movie ends a nicely ambiguous note, one that suggests that the story may not be quite over.  If there’s anything that I’ve learned from watching these films, it’s that sharks have 9 lives and, for that matter, so does Bruce!

What Lisa Watched Last Night #216: The Danger Next Door (dir by Bill Corcoran)


Last night, I watched the latest Lifetime film, The Danger Next Door!

Why Was I Watching It?

Because it was on Lifetime, of course!  It’s been a while since I’ve gotten a chance to watch a Lifetime film on the night that it aired.  Seriously, my DVR is full of Lifetime films right now and waiting for me to dig into them come November.

What Was It About?

After getting mugged, pregnant Robin (Hannah Emily Anderson) and her husband, Ben (Jake Epstein) move to a small town.  At first, the town seems perfect but it’s hard not to notice that their next door neighbors, Guy (David Ferry) and Sharon (Kyra Harper), are a little bit too friendly.  Anyone who has watched a Lifetime film knows that no one that nice can be trusted and that’s certainly the case here.

What Worked?

I always love a good “small towns are evil” Lifetime film so, in that regard, The Danger Next Door delivered exactly what I wanted.  The town was pretty, the houses were big, and the melodrama was embraced.  Yay!

The film also featured Jake Epstein, playing a sympathetic character for once!  Epstein previously played Craig Manning on Degrassi.  I’ve seen him in a lot of other movies and shows since then but he’ll always be Craig to me!  Craig was one of the best characters on Degrassi, a bipolar musician with drug problems and a habit of breaking everyone’s heart.  I always hoped that Craig and Ellie would get together, though I do think Ashley was Craig’s soul mate.  Anyway, where was I?  Oh yeah, Jake Epstein was in this movie and it was good to see him!

What Did Not Work?

Towards the end of the movie, there were a few plot twists that demanded a lot of suspension of disbelief, even for a Lifetime film.

“Oh my God!  Just like me!” Moments

I have never been mugged but, when I was 16 years old, the house that I was living in was burglarized.  My mom, my sisters, and I woke up one morning to discover that the garage door was open, the microwave was missing, and someone had emptied out my mom’s purse.  Even more than that, though, they stole our feeling of being secure in our home.  I had nightmares for weeks afterwards and I even took to sleeping with a baseball bat next to my bed.  However, the bat was a bit heavy so, after a few days, I switched it out for a golf club.

One night, I thought I heard someone creeping outside my bedroom door at 3 in the morning.  I got up, grabbed my golf club, and creeped over to the door.  I took a deep breath, raised the club over my head, threw the door open, and swung at the first dark shadow that I saw.

“What the Hell, Lisa Marie!?” Erin exclaimed, as she (rather easily) avoided the club.

Looking back at it, I’m glad that I didn’t hit my sister in the face with a golf club.  I would have felt bad about that.  But there’s no worse feeling than having some stranger invade your personal safe place.  All these years later, I’m still a fanatic when it comes to locking all the doors, checking all the windows, and making sure I’ve got a golf club near the bed.

The movie did a good job of capturing that trauma.  I could definitely relate to Robin’s fears.

Lessons Learned

Never move to a small town.  No matter how bad and scary the city gets, it’s still safer than living in a small town.

What Lisa Marie Watched Last Night #215: Nobody Will Believe You (dir by Damian Romay)


Last night, I turned over to the Lifetime Movie Network and I watched Nobody Will Believe You (a.k.a. Pretty Little Victim).

Why Was I Watching It?

This was actually my second time to watch Nobody Will Believe You.  I also watched it back in July but, for whatever reason, I didn’t review it despite the fact that I enjoyed the film.  I guess I must have been busy or sick in July, who knows?  Anyway, when I saw that it was going to be airing on the Lifetime Movie Network on Thursday night, I decided to rewatch it so that I could finally get around to writing this review!

What Was It About?

Melanie (Jenna Rosenow) and her daughter, Hannah (Emily Topper), have moved to a new town and, for Hannah, that means starting at a new school!  From the very first day, it’s obvious that Hannah is going to struggle to fit in.  Hannah may be nice but her classmates definitely are not.  The cheerleaders are bitchy.  The jocks are toxic.  Her best friend is alienated.  There’s a mysterious man who occasionally shows up and menacingly waves around a taser.  The only good news is that the friendly guidance counselor (John William Wright) wants to hire her to teach his daughter how to play the piano!  What could possibly go wrong?

What Worked?

I enjoyed Nobody Will Believe You because it did what every good Lifetime film does.  It shamelessly and openly embraced the melodrama.  Seriously, every possible thing that could happen to Hannah did happen to Hannah.  No sooner was Hannah getting rejected by the cheerleaders then she was saving the most popular girl in school from a falling printer.  No sooner had Hannah’s phone been hacked than someone was trying to frame her for murder.  It was such a nonstop collection of incidents that it quickly became clear to me that the film was self-aware when it came to its status as a Lifetime film.  It understood why the audience was watching and it was determined to give us exactly what we wanted.  At its best, the film worked as both a tribute to and a parody of the typical Lifetime movie.

What Did Not Work?

Obviously, for the film’s plot to work, Hannah had to be extremely naïve and trusting.  And, let’s be honest, it is true that some people are easily tricked.  Not everyone has the streetwise instincts of a suburbanite who has watched several hundred Lifetime films.  However, even with that in mind, it was sometimes hard to accept that Hannah could be as totally naïve as she often was.  Watching the movie, you sometimes got the feeling that, even if Hannah survived, she was destined to grow up to be one of those people who ends up sending their life savings to Aruba because someone contacted them on Facebook, claiming to be Garrett Hedlund.

“Oh my God!” Just Like Me Moments

When I was growing up, my family used to move a lot so I definitely could relate to Hannah’s nervousness about having to start all over again at an entirely new school.  And, when I was in high school, I got along famously with our guidance counselor.  If I hadn’t broken my ankle, maybe he would have asked me to teach his daughter to dance.  Of course, if Lifetime films have taught me anything, it’s that being hired to teach anyone anything is automatically going to lead to tragedy.

And of course, that brings us to….

Lessons Learned

Don’t teach.  Don’t offer to help anyone.  Reject any and all offers of mentorship.  It’s just going to lead to trouble.

Cleaning Out The DVR: Psycho Intern (dir by Ann Forry)


Here at the Shattered Lens, we have a very simple but very important rule.

DON’T SLEEP WITH THE INTERNS!

Of course, we also don’t have any interns so I’ve never really had to go out of my way to enforce that rule but still, if we did have interns, the rule would definitely be to not sleep with them.  Seriously, I’ve seen enough Lifetime films to know better.  Anytime you see a Lifetime film with the word “Intern” in the title, you know that the intern is going to be attractive, you know that the boss is going to be dealing with a difficult divorce or some other personal issue, and you know that one night of passion is going to leave to at least 40 minutes of trouble.

That’s certainly the case when it comes to Alex Prescott (Madison Smith), the handsome young man who works as an intern for Maya (Emmanuelle Vaugier).  At first, Alex just seems like an overly earnest college student who is oddly eager about making coffee.  But then, after Maya’s assistant is injured in a mysterious accident, Alex becomes an indispensable part of the office.  In fact, Alex is so helpful and so supportive and so handsome that it doesn’t seem to matter that he never brought in the information necessary for the company to run a background check for him.  And when he’s asked to offer up some proof that he actually is a college student, he claims that university’s server has gone down and it’ll be a while before he can get that proof.  

That all sounds pretty suspicious to me but one can’t really blame Maya for not paying to much attention.  She’s got a lot to deal with.  Not only is her daughter coming by for a visit but Maya also has a big presentation coming up.  Unfortunately, she also has to deal with a misogynistic coworker.  Fortunately, that coworker is sent to the hospital, the result of another mysterious accident!  There certainly do seem to be a lot of mysterious accidents and incidents whenever Alex is around.  Maya would probably notice that if she wasn’t busy having a one night stand with him in the office.

Afterwards, Maya is all like, “We have to transfer you to another office!”  But Alex …. well, the title of the movie is Psycho Intern, afterall!

This is hardly the first movie about a psycho to air on Lifetime, nor will it be the last.  Hell, it’s not even the first Lifetime movie about a psycho intern!  For whatever reason, interns are always bad news on Lifetime, which leads me to wonder what life is like at corporate headquarters.  One of the main themes of Lifetime movies that take place in the corporate world is that executives should never trust anyone who makes less money than them because those people will always end up trying to kill them.  That’s certainly the case here but, what the film lacks in originality, it makes up for in entertaining melodrama.  Madison Smith does a good job of switching back and forth from being charming to being batshit insane.  Emmanuelle Vaugier is a veteran of these type of films and she bring her usual flair to the role.  It’s a Lifetime movie that promises a psycho intern and it keeps its promise.

 

Cleaning Out The DVR: Driven to Kill (dir by Doug Campbell)


Ever since she was little, Brittany Green (Shelby Yardley) has wanted to become a professional race car driver.  She just loves cars and who can blame her?  Her fiancé, Kevin (Devante Winfrey), wants her to help him run his family’s hotel, despite the fact that a hotel is nowhere near as exciting as the Indy 500.  And Andrew James (Phillip Boyd) …. well, he just wants Brittany.

Andrew used to be a hotshot race car driver, until a serious accident left him with vision problems and a slightly obsessive personality.  Andrew now makes his living by teaching other people how to race cars.  Guess who his latest student is?  It’s Brittany!  Unfortunately, Andrew has a former former rival named Mario (Justin Berti), and he also wants to teach Brittany and he’ll do everything in his power to pull her away.  (He’ll even point out that he actually won his race, something that Andrew rarely did.)  Unfortunately, what Mario doesn’t realize, is that Andrew will do anything to keep Brittany as a student.

That’s something that Kevin discovers as well.  When a sudden death (once that Andrew had a little something to do with) forces Kevin to spend more and more time working at the hotel, he starts to pressure Brittany to give up her dream.  Soon, it’s not just a question of whether or not Kevin and Brittany’s relationship will survive.  It’s a question of whether or not Kevin and Brittany will survive as well!

Driven to Kill is a classic Lifetime film, an entertaining movie about obsession, fast cars, and a time bomb.  (Listen, it’s just not a car movie without a time bomb.)  Philip Boyd is convincingly unhinged as Andrew while Shelby Yardley is likable in the role of Brittany and even manages to make you care a little about whether or not she’s ever going to get to hit the NASCAR circuit.  Justin Berti is enjoyable eccentric in the role of Mario and provides some nice comedic relief to all the melodrama.

The key to understanding a film like Driven to Kill is that it’s not a film that you’re meant to take seriously.  It’s a film that celebrates everything that we love about Lifetime — i.e., the melodrama, the obsessiveness, and the message that you can have both do what you love and love the one you’re with.  Yes, Andrew is obviously unhinged but that’s what makes a film like this fun!  We know that Brittany’s in danger long before she knows it.  This is the type of movie that you watch with a group of friend who enjoy talking back to the screen.  It’s a fun movie and it features a lot of race track action and really that is what’s important.  It’s a film that delivers exactly what it promises.

Driven to Kill was directed by Doug Campbell, who is responsible for many of my favorite Lifetime films.  Some will undoubtedly notice that Driven to Kill feels a bit like a companion piece to Campbell’s previous film, Deadly Mile High Club, but so what?  I enjoyed that movie too.

Cleaning Out The DVR: Malicious Motives (dir by Mike Hoy)


How far would you go to be popular?

Would you take a volunteer job at the hospital in an attempt to show everyone that you actually are a good person?

Would you lie about the terrible circumstances of your home life?

Would you try to become best friends with the most popular girl in school?

Would you donate an organ?

Would you….

Wait, what?  Yes, you read that correctly.  I did say, “Donate an organ.”  I realize that may sound somewhat extreme but that’s exactly what happens in the Lifetime film, Malicious Motives!  When Katie (Juliana Destefano) learns that the most popular girl in school, Ashley (Revell Carpenter), desperately needs a live transplant and that they share the same blood type, Katie agrees to be the donor!  They only problem is that, since Katie is a minor, she needs to get the permission of a parent or a legal guardian.  Unfortunately, her legal guardian is her trashy sister, Sasha (Briana Femia).  Knowing that Sasha will never agree, Katie forges Sasha’s name.

Yay!  The operation is a success!  Ashley is going to live and it looks like Katie has a new best friend!  However, when Sasha finds out that Katie donated part of her liver to someone else, Sasha is livid.  Katie lies and says that Ashley’s family is going to pay them for the transplant but that it’s going to take a few months for the money to go through because it’s like super illegal.  Sasha’s like, “Fine, just get the money!”  Katie starts to make plans to become a part of Ashley’s family….

Seriously, poor Katie!  I mean, Katie is technically the obsessive danger in this particular film but it’s still hard not to feel that life just hasn’t given her a fair chance.  She has absolutely the worst sister on the planet!  Not only does Sasha refuses to pick Katie up from the hospital but she also sells all of Katie’s pain killers!  Imagine trying to recover from a major surgery with no pain killers.  Making it even worse is that Sasha’s boyfriend, Brett (Conner Floyd), is a total perv who thinks that organ donation scars are totally hot.  AGCK!  You really can’t blame Katie for going a little bit overboard in her attempts to escape from that situation.

Still, donating an organ does seem like an extreme solution.  But, then again, this is a Lifetime film and a part of the fun of Lifetime is that everything’s extreme.  No one does the sensible thing, like calling the police.  Instead, they donate an organ and then try to force their way into someone else’s family.  The implausibility of it all is a part of the fun.  If you can’t embrace the melodrama, these films will never be for you,

Ultimately, what matters is that Juliana Destefano gives a good performance as the sympathetic but unhinged Katie while Briana Femia goes wonderfully over-the-top as the sister from Hell.  As I watched the film, I found myself appreciating my own sisters. They would never have treated me as badly as Sasha treated Katie.  I will always be thankful that, because of them, I made it through high school with all of my organs intact.