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.


What Lisa Watched Last Night #194: Her Boyfriend’s Secret (dir by Lisa France)

Last night, I watched the latest Lifetime movie premiere, Her Boyfriend’s Secret!

Why Was I Watching It?

With a title like that, how couldn’t I watch it!?  Seriously, whenever one of my friends gets a new boyfriend, I immediately start digging up all of their secrets.  I’m like the sassy best friend in a Lifetime movie except for the fact that I don’t get murdered right before the fifth commercial break.

What Was It About?

Melissa (Kelly Sullivan) and Travis (Jordan James Smith) have both built successful careers as home renovators.  In fact, everyone assumes that they must be a couple!  But no, they’re just friends and business colleagues.

In fact, Melissa may have met the one.  His name is John Anderson (Mark Famiglietti) and he’s handsome and charming and he owns a really big house.  Of course, it does seem strange that John is constantly taking business trips.  He claims that he spends his time flying from London to Paris to Geneva but he’s always kind of vague about what he actually does in any of those cities.

And then there’s Carrie (Maiara Walsh), the woman who approaches Melissa one day and informs her that 1) John is actually named Phillip and 2) Phillip/John has a history of stalking his ex-girlfriends!

That’s a lot of secrets but, believe it or not, there’s even more yet to be discovered!

What Worked?

I really liked this one.  Not only was it well-acted but it featured some really nice houses!  As any longtime fan can tell you, a good Lifetime film also features a combination of big melodrama and big houses!  The film’s central mystery was intriguing and Mark Famiglietti brought a convincing mix of creepiness and charm to the role of John.

Though I won’t spoil the nature of her role, Anne Leighton also gave a very good performance.  She’s doesn’t have a lot of screen time but she makes the most of it.

This film also played with the standard Lifetime stalker formula by casting a guy as the nosy best friend.  That actually added a whole new dynamic to all of the expected scenes of Travis digging into John’s background.  Was Travis right to be concerned or was he motivated by something more than just friendship?  The film did a good job of keeping you guessing.

What Did Not Work?

It all worked.  This was an entertaining Lifetime melodrama.

“Oh my God!  Just like me!” Moments

Again, as with all Lifetime films, I related to all of the skeptical and nosy best friends.  If only people would listen to them for once!

Lessons Learned

Just because someone has a big house, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should trust him.