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.