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  While he’s dying in the hospital, he’s visited by Jenna Fallon (Krista Bridges) and her withdrawn son, Joshua (Percy Hynes White).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!”


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!

Spring Breakdown: Age of Summer (dir by Bill Kiely)

Earlier this week, Spring Break get derailed in both the real world and here on the Shattered Lens.  I had like four reviews left to go in my Spring Breakdown series before the whole Coronavirus panic broke out and I missed a few days of posting.

Well, fear not.  I’m never one to give up easily and hey, I’m working at home for the next month!  So, I should have time to watch a lot of movies, including at least four more movies to close out Spring Breakdown!  For instance, this morning, I decided to clean out my DVR by watching the 2018 film, Age of Summer!

Now, I guess I should start things out by admitting that Age of Summer is not really a Spring Break film.  In fact, it takes place during the summer.  However, the entire movie pretty much takes place on the beach and really, that’s just as good as being about Spring Break.  I mean, there’s a scene where a bunch of lifeguards spray beer on each other in slow motion and there’s some oddly gratuitous nudity and there’s whole big subplot about stealing a big marijuana plant.  So, it’s a Spring Break movie in spirit, if not in plot.

Unfortunately, it’s not a particularly good movie.  This is one of those movies that left me wanting to throw stuff at the TV and I probably would have if Jeff hadn’t pointed out that, if I broke the screen, it might be a while until I could get a new one.  The film is about a kid called Minnesota (Percy Hynes White), because that’s where he’s from.  (Fortunately, he wasn’t from Walla Walla.)  Minnesota has moved to California and he wants to become a life guard.  He also wants to get a girlfriend and retrieve his bike, which is stolen from him at the start of the film.  A grown-up Minnesota provides us with voice-over narration, assuring us that we’re watching the most important summer of his life and that, as a result of what happened during that summer, he would always love the ocean.  The problem with the narration is that, far too often, it tells us what we should be seeing.  Instead of visually making us fall in love with the ocean, the most just tells us that we should love the ocean.

Oddly, the main theme of this film seems to be that everyone in California is a jerk.  I’m sure that wasn’t what was originally intended but everyone that Minnesota meets is so obnoxious that you’re just kind of like, “Get that kid to Walla Walla!”  Eventually, Minnesota is sent on a quest to get wisdom from the mysterious Rock God (Peter Stomare) who lives on the beach and who some people say is just a local legend.  I’m not really sure what Minnesota got from his visit to the Rock God but at least Peter Stomare’s in the film.

Anyway, Minnesota does eventually become a lifeguard.  All of the lifeguards spray beer on each other in slow motion.  How are they going to save my life if they’re all drunk?  Where the Hell’s David Hasselhoff?  Someone needs to whip these boys into shape!

So, no, Age of Summer didn’t really work for me.