What Lisa Watched Last Night #205: Her Deadly Reflections (dir by John Lyde)


Tonight, I watched the 2nd Lifetime film of 2020, Her Deadly Reflections (a.k.a. Shattered Memories)!

Why Was I Watching It?

Well, the main reason I was watching it was because it was on the Lifetime Movie Network and, by this point, everyone should know that there’s no way I can resist a new Lifetime film.

I also really liked the title.  According to imdb, this film is also known as Shattered Memories but I prefer Her Deadly Reflections.  I mean, “Deadly” is one of those word that, when it appears in a title, you simply can’t resist.  Especially when that title happens to belong to a Lifetime film!

What Was It About?

It’s a Lifetime amnesia film!

Kelly Moore (Helena Mattsson) is an artist who has just woken up in the hospital.  Apparently, she’s been in a terrible car accident.  In fact, she’s lucky to have survived!  Unfortunately, she’s also woken up with partial amnesia.  She remembers her childhood.  She remembers growing up.  She remembers waking up in the hospital.  But almost everything in-between is a blank.  She no longer knows her husband, Dan (Corey Sevier).  She barely knows her best friend, Allison (Melanie Stone) or Allison’s husband, Logan (Jake Stormeon).

What she does know is that she keeps having vague flashes of memory that suggest that there’s more to her injuries than just being in an accident.  She sees herself falling out of a window and running from an unseen assailant.  Who tried to kill her and why?  That’s what Kelly has to try to figure out, while also putting together the clues to discover just what her life was like before the accident.

What Worked?

I always enjoy a good Lifetime amnesia film and Her Deadly Reflections contained all of the elements that you could hope for this unique cinematic genre, everything from hazy flashbacks to sudden realizations that neither Kelly’s marriage nor her friendships were quite as strong as she’s originally led to believe when she first wakes up.  It’s an interesting dynamic.  Because Kelly can’t remember anything that happened before her accident, everyone tries to pretend as if things were perfect before Kelly lost her memory.  I imagine that’s what people would do in real life, as well.

Helena Mattsson did a good job in the lead role, capturing Kelly’s confusion as she struggled to figure out who she used to be.  Melanie Stone was also well-cast as Kelly’s best friend.

What Did Not Work?

The film needed a few more suspects to really keep us guessing as to who attacked Kelly..  Once we eliminated all of the obvious the suspects, there was only one person left so the revelation of that person’s identity was not quite as shocking as it could have been.

“Oh my God!  Just like me!” Moments

I’m happy to say that I’ve never had amnesia, though I did once total my car.  (In fact, it flipped over and the fact that I wasn’t killed or even seriously injured was something of a miracle.)  I could relate to Kelly and Allison’s friendship.  I’ve had friends like Allison.  I think we all have.

Lessons Learned

Memories are important so don’t ever let go of them.

What Lisa Watched Tonight #204: Escaping My Stalker (dir by Linden Ashby)


Tonight, I watched the first Lifetime movie of 2020 — Escaping My Stalker!

Why Was I Watching It?

Because it was the first Lifetime film of 2020, of course!

Seriously, though, 2019 was not an easy year for me as a reviewer.  I got busy.  My time management skills mysteriously fell apart.  As a result, I missed a few Lifetime films and I also didn’t always have time to review quite a few of the ones that I did see.  One of my resolutions for 2020 is to not let that happen again.

I mean, don’t get me wrong.  If I’m not going to be at home when the movie airs, I’m going to set the DVR.  But, this year, I’m not going to let movies pile up on my DVR before I watch them and, even more importantly, I’m not going to get behind on my reviews.  That’s my 2020 resolution and if I break it, I’m blaming everyone who follows me on social media.

Those are the stakes, my friends.

(For the record, I will be watching and hopefully reviewing the remaining Lifetime films on my DVR this weekend.)

What Was It About?

Up until a year ago, 17 year-old Taylor (Ezmie Garcia) was homeless.  Fortunately, she was eventually taken in and adopted by Larry (Linden Ashby) and his wife, Sandy (Alexandra Paul).  Now, Taylor has a job at the local skatepark and her life appears to be heading in the right direction.  However, Taylor also has a stalker!  When that stalker breaks into Taylor’s home and shoots Larry in the leg, Taylor realizes that her new life isn’t as secure as she thought it was.

It’s no spoiler to tell you that Taylor’s stalker is Miles (Andrew James Allen).  Miles lives with his grandmother (Mariette Hartley) and it quickly turns out that grandma is actually encouraging Miles!  Miles and grandma have got their own reasons for wanting to destroy Taylor’s new family, reasons that only become clear as the film progresses.

What Worked

It all worked!

Seriously, Escaping My Stalker was a perfect way to start the new year.  The story was interesting.  The film was well-directed by Linden Ashby.  Ezmie Garcia did a great job playing a character who was a bit tougher than the average Lifetime teenager.  Meanwhile, Mariette Hartley appeared to be having a lot of diabolical fun in the role of the Grandma from Hell.  Even though Miles was not necessarily a sympathetic character, it only took one look at Grandma to understand why Miles turned out the way that he did.

Also, Escaping My Stalker featured a Clu Gulager shout-out!  When Taylor first meets Clu Dunsten (Pedro Correa), she asks him if he’s named after the great character actor Clu Gulager.  They even spend a few minutes talking about Return of the Living Dead!  If that isn’t the best way to start off 2020, I don’t know what is.

Finally, this was not just a Lifetime melodrama.  It was also a film about the homeless situation, which is getting worse day-by-day (and not just on the West Coast, either).  This was a Lifetime film with a conscience.

What Didn’t Work

As I said, it all worked.  This was exactly the type of film that one hopes to see while watching the Lifetime Movie Network.

“OH MY GOD!  JUST LIKE ME!” Moments

To be honest, I could only hope to be as tough and resourceful as Taylor.

Lessons Learned

There are still people out there who appreciate a good Living Dead film.

Lifetime Film Review: Deadly Hollywood Obsession (dir by Daniel Ringey)


Ah, Hollywood!

Hollywood is where people to go to become a star.  It’s also where people go to marry a star or, depending on which movie you’re watching, maybe get murdered by a star.  And, of course, it’s also where every unbalanced stalker goes so that they can …. well, stalk a star!

Sam Austin (Jon Prescott) is a star.  He’s a star of the magnitude that merely speaking to him can cause TMZ to suddenly materialize outside of your house.  Sam Austin’s living the dream and if you have any doubt, you should just see his house.  I mean, this is a Lifetime film and it’s pretty much established that everyone in the world of Lifetime lives in a mansion but, even by the standards of the typical Lifetime home, Sam has got one impressive house!  I especially liked his pool, which small but stylish.

Still, even with the nice house and the movie stardom, Sam’s life is not perfect.  The dream is occasionally a nightmare.  For instance, his wife was mysterious murdered about a year ago and the perpetrator has never been caught!  It’s assumed that his wife was murdered by someone who may have developed an obsession with Sam….

Someone like Lynette (Hannah Barefoot)!  Lynette lives with her mom and never seem to be happy, unless she’s watching Sam Austin on TV or following Sam around California.  When Lynette approaches Sam’s son, Jack (Brady Bond), and tries to convince him to go off with her, the only thing that keeps her from pulling off the perfect kidnapping is a teacher named Casey (Sarah Roemer).  After Casey chases off Lynette, Sam is so thankful that he hires her to be his son’s home school teacher!

Suddenly, Casey’s a celebrity and she even gets her own “5 Things You Need To Know About” profile.  The paparazzi are asking her questions.  Everyone wants to know if Casey and Sam are now a couple and it doesn’t take long before they are.

Uh-oh.  Lynette’s not going to be happy about that….

Deadly Hollywood Obsession was a lot of fun.  There’s a neat little twist about two-third through the film, one that reveals that none of the characters are quite who we originally assumed them to be.  Jon Prescott and Sarah Roemer are both well-cast as Sam and Casey but the film is truly stolen by Hannah Barefoot, who really tears into the role of the unstable yet not totally unsympathetic Lynette.  Barefoot has been in quite a few Lifetime films and she plays Lynette with the right combination of anger and sadness.  You get the feeling that, even if she wont admit it, Lynette secretly knows that her obsession has pretty much ruined her life but she’s now in so deep that she really has no other option but to continue down her self-destructive path.

And, it bears repeating, Sam’s home is absolutely gorgeous!

Seriously, don’t discount the power of a nice house.

Lifetime Film Review: Recipe For Danger (dir by Lisa France)


What’s the perfect recipe for dangers in a Lifetime movie?

Well, you need a pinch of melodrama, a dash of empowerment, a tablespoon of a wimpy spouse, and a quart of psycho energy.  Sorry, I’m not really much of a cook and you can probably already tell.  Perhaps that’s why I’ve always been obsessed with cooking shows and movies about professional chefs.  I watch and I think to myself, “How come they can do that when I can’t even make toast without nearly burning down the kitchen?”  And, of course, I always take a bit of pleasure when Gordon Ramsay catches a professional chef trying to serve up raw lamb.  “See!?” I shout at the TV, “It can happen to anyone!”

But to get back to my recipe.  Here’s what you need to cook up some danger, Lifetime-style.

You need a protagonist who has a glamorous job and an attractive family.  In the case of Recipe for Danger, Vanessa (Bree Williamson) is the head chef at a very successful restaurant.  Vanessa has a super supportive husband (Adam Hurtig) and a super loyal best friend (Kate Yacula).  Vanessa also has an adopted daughter named Lacy (Annelise Pollman).

You need to have a bit of a moral panic.  In this case, Vanessa is warned that she’s oversharing on social media.  She’s constantly posting pictures of her life and writing about Lacy’s accomplishments.  She’s warned that, if she’s not careful, she’s going to end up with a stalker.  Vanessa laughs off the danger.  She’s proud of her daughter.  She has a great life.  Why shouldn’t she share?

And, of course, you need a psycho!  In this case, that psycho would be Taryn (Sarah Lind).  Taryn’s is Lacy’s birth mother and she wants her daughter back.  Due to Vanessa’s habit of oversharing, Taryn has been able to track them down.  (Who’s laughing now, Vanessa!?)  Taryn manages to get a job working in Vanessa’s restaurant and soon, she and Vanessa are besties!  Everyone tries to warn Vanessa that something is off about Taryn but Vanessa refuses to listen.  Of course, eventually, Taryn kidnaps Lacy.  Can Vanessa rescue Lacy and how many people will end up in the hospital before Taryn’s rampage ends?

This was a pretty standard Lifetime kidnapping film, though I did like the fact that, rather than passively going along with being kidnapping, Lacy was always looking for an opportunity to escape and she got a chance to prove herself to be considerably more clever than even her own birth mother gave her credit for being.  Sarah Lind’s been in quite a few Lifetime films and she does a pretty good job as Taryn, providing a nice balance between charm and psychosis.

In the end, Recipe for Danger is a filling if rather traditional meal.

 

Lifetime Film Review: He’s Out To Get You (dir by Nadeem Soumah)


So, put yourself in the shoes of Megan (Samaire Armstrong).

You had a wonderful husband.  You had a young child.  You were out driving one day and, because you took your eyes off the road, you ended up having a head-on collision with another vehicle.  You survived.  Your husband did not.  Your child is dead.  What do you do?

Well, Megan decides to check herself into a mental hospital and it’s there that she stays for the next four years.  Because she checked herself in, she can also check herself out.  Eventually, she decides to do just that.  Her doctor thinks that Megan isn’t ready to reenter society but Megan is determined to return to her hometown and reunite with her brother.

Her brother, Greg, lives in a house on a hill that overlooks the ocean.  It’s a big house that towers over the otherwise dead end small town below.  As Duke (Rob Mayes), the local bartender puts it, it doesn’t look like it belongs in the town.  Greg has lived in the house since the death of his and Megan’s parents but when Megan arrives, Greg is nowhere to be found!

When Mega asks around town, everyone insists that they’ve never heard of this mysterious Greg.  At first, Megan thinks that it might be because Greg was always a bit of a recluse.  But, as the days drags on and she can still find no sign of her bother, Megan starts to think that something has happened to Greg.  Could it be a conspiracy or could it all be coincidence?

Or ….. is it possible that Megan never had a brother to begin with!?  That’s certainly what the unhelpful sheriff (Bart Johnson) seems to think.  In fact, the only person who seems to have any faith in Megan is Duke but Duke has a shady history of his own.  Duke not only is a former burglar but he has plans that require more money than he probably possesses.  Is Duke to be trusted or is he lying about what he knows?

And who put that rattlesnake in Megan’s car!?

Yes, the plot of He’s Out To Get You raises a lot of questions.  They’re all answered and some of the answers are more satisfactory than others.  This is one of those films that sets up an intriguing mystery but which doesn’t quite come up with a satisfying solution.  To be honest, though, none of that really matters because — OH MY GOD, THE HOUSE IS FREAKING GORGEOUS!

I have often stated on this site that one of the main things that I love about Lifetime films is seeing the huge houses in which they take place.  I mean, Lifetime has featured a lot of truly stunning homes.  But I don’t know if Lifetime has ever featured house quite as impressive as the one in He’s Out To Get You.  Seriously, this house is huge and it’s tastefully decorated and it has a nice pool and, most importantly, the view is absolutely to die for!  Would I kill to own that house?  Well, maybe not quite but I’d definitely consider it.

As for the rest of the film, it’s well-acted and the villains are properly hissable.  I liked Duke, the morally ambiguous bartender and I thought Rob Mayes did a great job with the role.  That said, the house is definitely the star.

Seriously, it’s beautiful.

Lifetime Film Review: Most Likely To Murder (dir by Kaila York)


Oh Hell Yeah!  Now, seriously, this is the perfect Lifetime movie!

Welcome to Lifetime High School!  It’s a school where students plot to win awards, the mean girls are at war with the one nice girl, the cheereleaders determine who is popular and who is a pariah, and where social media is both a great equalizer and a deadly weapon.  It’s just like any other high school, except it’s a Lifetime high school.  That means that everything is juts a little bit more extreme than usual.  Whereas regular high school cheerleaders might inspire someone to develop an eating disorder, Lifetime cheerleaders plant drugs on their rivals and arrange for season-ending injuries.  And, if that doesn’t work, there’s always murder….

Poor Casey (Madison McLaughlin)!  She used to be popular.  She used to be a cheerleader.  She used to be the one making other people insecure and giving them eating disorders.  But, things happens.  Things change.  Her father was killed in a housefire and now, Casey wears a wig to cover up her own scars.  Casey’s mother (Heather McComb) now works as a waitress and is dating a loser named Harlen (Brendan McCarthy).  Casey’s former best friend, Hailey (Ava Allan), is now her greatest enemy, which means that Hailey not only delights in stealing Casey’s wig but she also plots to make each and every one of Casey’s humiliations go viral.

(You can tell this is a Lifetime High School film because, whenever anyone looks at their phone, they immediately exclaim, “You’re going viral!”)

However, Reagan (Bayley Corman) wants to help Casey out.  Reagan’s a cheerleader but, because she went through a lengthy “ugly duckling” phase, she still feels a lot of compassion for the downtrodden.  Reagan befriends Casey.  Regan encourages Casey to tell the entire school about the fire and to reveal that scars underneath her wig.  Reagan defends Casey against the abuse of Hailey and she tells Casey that she shouldn’t be ashamed of her mother’s waitressing job.  She even encourages Casey to believe that she might win the year-end award for “Most Inspiring” student!

Of course, Hailey and her friend, Clair (Ashlee Fuss), keep telling Reagan that Casey isn’t the perfect, shy person that she pretends to be.  They say that Casey shouldn’t be trusted.  Reagan refuses to believe them.  After all, Clair’s just mad because she broken her ankle in a mysterious accident.  And Hailey’s been upset ever since the cops discovered the stash of pills in her backpack.  (Of course, Hailey swears that the pills don’t belong to her, which sounds like something a pill-popping cheerleader would say….)  Reagan has no reason to believe Hailey and Clair but …. what if they’re right!?

Most Likely To Murder is a lot of fun, precisely because, for the majority of the movie, only the viewers are aware that Casey’s not as innocent as she pretends to be and there’s something undeniably enjoyable about watching her yank the wool down over everyone’s eyes.  She may be a menace but she’s a clever menace and that makes her a lot of fun to watch.  Madison McLaughlin does a great job in the role, making Casey not just dangerous but also sympathetic as well.  I mean, as bad as Casey turns out to be, her tormentors aren’t much better.  In the end, everyone’s kind of evil except for Reagan and her snarky friend, Taylor (Kara Royster).  Needless to say, I’m a fan of any film where the snarky best friend is one of the heroes.

Most Likely To Murder provides exactly what you want from a Lifetime film — melodrama, murder, and high school backstabbing.  It’s a lot of fun and one to keep an eye out for.

Lifetime Film Review: My Mom’s Darkest Secrets (dir by Curtis Crawford)


The special bond between mother and daughter is a theme to which Lifetime often returns.  It’s actually one of the reasons why I love the station and its films.  Whether it’s a case of the mother having to save her daughter from a bad boyfriend or a daughter having to prove that her mother isn’t actually a murderer, it’s rare that I can’t find something to relate to whenever I watch one of those films.  I imagine that’s true for everyone but that seems to be especially true for me.

My Mom’s Darkest Secrets is the latest Lifetime mother-daughter film and, before I get too much into the film and its plot, can I just mention how much I love that title?  I mean that title features everything that we love about Lifetime.  You’ve got the mother-daughter bond.  You’ve got secrets.  And you’ve got darkness.  In fact, the title promises us more than the typical Lifetime film.  We’re not just learning about a mother’s secrets.  And we’re not just learning about her dark secrets.  No — this movie is about her DARKEST secret!  It’s like, “I have many secret and they’re all bad but this one is the absolute worst.”  How can you not find that intriguing?

As for the film itself, it’s all about Ashley Beck-Ford (Nia Roam) and her mother, Sara (Laura Fortier).  When Ashley was born, Sara gave up her daughter for adoption.  Ashley was raised by two wonderful women and Lifetime presents Ashley’s adoptive moms in such a positive and lovable light that, even though the film was inevitably made before the recent controversy, it still feels like a massive “take that!” to Hallmark.  (As often as they’re compared, Lifetime has always been more progressive than Hallmark.)  However, Ashley has now tracked down Sara and she soon discovers that her birth mother is into all sorts of drama.

For instance, Sara’s husband has been murdered and the police suspect that Sara may have been the one responsible!  Even worse, because Sara has arranged for Ashley to eventually inherit the dead man’s fortune, the cops also think that Ashley may have been involved as well!  It’s now up to Sara to dig around and discover the truth and, of course, that’ll mean uncovering some of “my mom’s darkest secrets!”

I enjoyed My Mom’s Darkest Secrets.  Both Sara and Ashley had red hair, so I could relate to them both.  Beyond that, though, Nia Roam and Laura Fortier were both very well-cast.  They had enough in common that you could look at them or listen to the talk and think to yourself, “Yes, they could very well be mother and daughter.”  The credibility of their relationship added some depth and some nuance to the film’s central mystery.  You watch the film and you hope that things work out for them because Sara and Ashley really do seem like they deserve to have that type of relationship that so many other people take for granted.

My Mom’s Darkest Secrets was on the Lifetime Movie Network last night and, with Lifetime being Lifetime, it’ll probably air several more time.  So, keep an eye out for it!