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Monday, March 28, 2016

REVIEW: 'Get Out Alive'

What better way to wind down Easter Sunday than a Lifetime horror movie! LMN's premiere of "Get Out Alive" offered a great alternative to inspirational programming with this tale of a couples retreat from hell.

Lucy (Beverly Mitchell of "7th Heaven") and Greg (Ryan S. Williams) are a couple at a marital crossroads. They're advised by friends James (Steve Bacic) and Serena (Lindsay Maxwell) to attend a special couples retreat in a remote forest area. The scenery there is breathtaking, but the vibe is creepy as hell. Couples must submit blood samples and sacrifice their IDs. And good luck leaving! This place is waaay out in the woods and there's literally no way out. Complicating matters are surveillance cameras that monitor everyone's moves. Oh... and the retreat's lead counselor Dr. Kozlov (Vincent Gale) has the bedside manner of a ghoul ... and has a voice like Sesame Street's the Count. 

Lucy and Greg have plenty of relationship issues, but they eventually agree on one thing ... something is fishy. During a hiking trip, someone tries to kill Lucy. Suspicions also arise when the comic relief elderly couple disappears. Before long, the duo discovers a surgical facility on the premises. I won't offer any spoilers, but this is definitely a far out Lifetime movie. Director George Erschbamer keeps things rolling along at a nice pace with plenty of action and suspense. Leads Mitchell and Williams are effective as is the supporting cast ... particularly Gale as the super creepy Kozlov.

I didn't see future listings for this gem, but it's bound to return to Lifetime or LMN ... and is probably on the Lifetime Movie Network. Definitely check it out the next time it hits the airwaves! It's Lifetime at its best ... and weirdest.

"Get Out Alive" - Directed by George Erschbamer; Starring Beverly Mitchell (Lucy), Ryan S. Williams (Greg), Steve Bacic (James), Lindsay Maxwell (Serena), Vincent Gales (Kozlov)

Sunday, March 27, 2016

REVIEW: 'The Perfect Daughter'

Natalie seems to have everything going for her. She's a good student who recently was elected to student council and caught the eye of hockey stud Sam. And she has a great relationship with her doting single dad. In a Lifetime movie, those moments are fleeting. In "The Perfect Daughter," it's not long before Natalie's idyllic life comes crashing down around her.

Last night, Lifetime premiered this family drama -- that's both schlocky and sweet enough to appease all Lifetimers

The plot focuses on super teen Natalie (played by the talented Sadie Calvano) who is raised by widowed dad Martin (Brady Smith), a construction guru. As mentioned, she's got everything going for her, but dad finds her wasted on booze following a high school party. She's pretty blasted, so she's taken to the hospital. There, Martin find out that his daughter likely had sex ... or was sexually assaulted at the party.

Martin tries to communicate with his daughter while trying to figure out who exactly is to blame for what happened. Was it rich jock Sam (Reiley McClendon)? Or, perhaps his dad Bruce (Hardy Boy Parker Stevenson) was negligent since this incident happened on his estate. Complicating matters is that Bruce's wife is Martin's ex Julie (Meredith Salenger ... every guy's crush in the 1980s thanks to roles in "Dream A Little Dream" and others)!

The movie moves along at a decent pace and leaves viewers with tons of questions as Martin tries to reconnect with a very distant Natalie. All in all, it's decent weekend fare that takes a detour from the usual stalker/killer/psycho Lifetime movies. 

Kudos to the cast, particularly Calvano and Smith. Likewise Blaine Saunders does a very good job as Natalie's supportive friend Tess. Salenger also adds a sweet, sympathetic voice to to the mix.

Missed this last night? Check it out today at 2 p.m. (CST) on Lifetime.

"The Perfect Daughter" - Directed by Brian Herzlinger; Starring Sadie Calvano (Natalie), Bradie Smith (Martin), Parker Stevenson (Bruce), Reiley McClendon (Sam), Meredith Salenger (Julie), Blaine Saunders (Tess), Johann Urb (Nick)

Saturday, March 26, 2016

'The Perfect Daughter' Rocks Lifetime Tonight!

It's about to be a perfect Saturday night on Lifetime. "The Perfect Daughter" starts soon! Keep up with the action on Twitter - #ThePerfectDaughter.

Nightmares on LMN Today!

As I write this, LMN is minutes away from kicking off a "Nightmare" Saturday. What a way to entertain families before Easter Sunday! Here's a rundown of a perfectly dreamy afternoon of Lifetime movies:

11 a.m. (CST): "A Sister's Nightmare"
Kelly Rutherford stars as cop Jane. Natasha Henstridge is her unbalanced sister Cassidy who pops up after a lengthy stay in the psych ward. Cassidy wants her daughter back, but is she a competent mom ... or an incompetent maniac.

1 p.m. (CST): "A Mother's Nightmare"
Why go see "Batman v. Superman" when you can see the Flash's Grant Gustin victimized by a psycho new kid in school? Gustin plays good kid Chris who is seduced by the new girl in school Jessica (Jessica Lowndes). Unfortunately for him ... and his worrying mom (Annabeth Gish), this young lady is bad news.

3 p.m. (CST): "A Daughter's Nightmare"
It's not easy seeing your mom date after dad dies. It's even harder when the guy your mom is seeing is possibly trying to kill her! Emily Osment stars as Ariel. Her mom (Lifetime staple Victoria Pratt) is recently widowed. Single dad Adam ("One Tree Hill" dad Paul Johansson) sees a "Brady Bunch" future with her. Or does he??

5 p.m. (CST): "A Wife's Nightmare"
"Flashdance" star Jennifer Beals may be singing "She's a Maniac" after meeting a girl who may ...or may not be her husband's long lost daughter.

7 p.m. (CST): "Nightmare Nurse"
It's every guy's dream, right? A HOT nurse is available to offer sensual reflexology massages and cook warm meals. In this movie, the nurse (Lindsay Hartley) has a great bedside manner ... maybe too great. While taking care of injured Lance, she decides she'll heal his romantic woes ... even if he doesn't have any! It's up to girlfriend Brooke (Sarah Butler) and good nurse Barb (Traci Lords) to save the day.

Monday, March 21, 2016

REVIEW: "Hunting Season"

A decades old mystery may hold the clues to woman's past. It's the stuff movies on Lifetime are made of, and last night's premiere of "Hunting Season" on LMN exemplified the genre.

The movie follows Samantha (Lauren Lee Smith), a woman under immense pressure to have a baby with husband Mike (Lifetime movie staple and Gilmore Guy David Sutcliffe). When she inherits a remote cabin property, Samantha sees an opportunity to possibly unwind in the woods. She doesn't realize that this old house was the site of a family murder. She also is unaware of a possible spirit that resides in the house. In spite of this, Samantha goes about renovating the old house -- which is waaay out in the snowy woods deep in hunting territory -- with her dog buddy. Slowly but surely, she begins to uncover details on her parents, who were victims of an alleged murder suicide. All the while, weird things start happening in this creepy cabin. A phonograph keeps turning on ... playing a chill-inducing version of "Itsy Bitsy Spider ... and a film projector with old home movies mysteriously activates showing Sam some movies of her parents. Also...a hunter neighbor may or may not be trying to kill her. After meeting the local sheriff and asking some questions, her curiosities are intensified. Hubby Mike eventually turns up at the cabin with friends Katie (Sarah Manninen) and NRA poster boy Jason (Kris Holden-Reid), and more weirdness ensues.

This is a darker than usual Lifetime feature, but it rolls along nicely. Good work from all of the actors ... even Buddy the dog, who pops up at all the right moments to scare the heck out of Smith's character. The conclusion is satisfying if not predictable, and there's enough action to keep supernatural skeptics interested. The Lifetime site isn't showing any airings in the near future, but you can guess that it will make its way back on Lifetime of LMN soon.

"Hunting Season": Directed by Keith Samples: Starring Lauren Lee Smith as Samantha; David Sutcliffe as Mike; Kris Holden-Reid as Jason, Sarah Manninen as Katie; Brian Markinson as Sheriff Emmit; Chela Horsdal as Nancy

Sunday, March 20, 2016

REVIEW: 'Mommy's Little Girl'

Absent mom, abusive grandparents, bully classmates. It's no wonder Sadie (Emma Hentschell) has a few screws loose. In "Mommy's Little Girl" (which just premiered on Lifetime), audiences can experience Sadie's psychopathic wrath as she unleashes her fury on dolls, action figures and grown-ups.

Unfortunately for Sadie, she was sent to live with her weird grandparents while her alcoholic mother Theresa (Fiona Gubelmann) dried out. Well, mom gets her act together and is engaged to super nice guy Aaron (James Gallanders). Sadie gets to move back with mom ... but it's revealed that grandpa (not a very nice guy) died under mysterious circumstances and grandma really doesn't want Sadie to leave.

Understandably, Sadie's a bit stressed...so she stabs her doll quite a bit and slips into flashback mode to reveal what really happened to granddad. Making matters worse is that Sadie's classmates and step bro Josh (Mikael Conde) HATE her ... and I mean, HATE. This kid can't catch a break, so she ultimately snaps. She already was a bit broken, but circumstances really cause her to crack up even further. It's not long before Sadie racks up a small yet significant body count, but everyone's prepping for Theresa and Aaron's wedding! Who has time to notice that the new kid on the block is a murderous nutcase?

In terms of Lifetime fare, this is a decent bad seed thriller with good acting from Hentschell -- who really steals the show. There aren't too many surprises for viewers except for the sheer cruelty of Sadie's character ... who is pretty mean. The only surprise is how NO ONE can figure out that something is up with this shady little girl! But...if they did, I guess it would be a much shorter movie. Definitely give this a watch! The ending (no spoilers here) is pure Lifetime gold! There are some golden moments courtesy of Hentschell that may make anyone rethink marrying anyone with kids.

Check out "Mommy's Little Girl" at 5 p.m., March 20 on Lifetime and visit Lifetime for a schedule of future airings.

"Mommy's Little Girl" - Directed by Curtis Crawford; Starring Fiona Gubelmann (Theresa), James Gallanders (Aaron), Emma Hentschel (Sadie), Mikael Conde (Josh), Sam Ashe Arnold (Dylan), Alex Sideris (Miss Goldin), Eva Link (Lisa), Nicole St. Martin (Mrs. Fisher)

Saturday, March 19, 2016

"Mommy's Little Girl" Rocking Lifetime on Saturday Night

You may already be tuned in to the Lifetime premiere of "Mommy's Little Girl," which already is amounting to a great bad seed horror thriller. Follow the the action with LM Mental on Twitter - #MommysLittleGirl.

Look for a review on this blog tomorrow!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Get LM Mental!

Welcome to the first entry in this blog celebrating the films of Lifetime and the Lifetime Movie Network.  From classics like "Mother, May I Sleep With Danger?" to brand new movies like "Nightmare Nurse," this blog will preview and review Lifetime programming.

Let's face it, if you're reading this you're already a Lifetimer and know the joy of spending weekends watching "Perfect" marathons ("The Perfect Neighbor," "The Perfect Child," etc.) or spotting the same actors (William Moses, Victoria Pratt) in multiple LMN movies. Yes, Lifetime movies are like old friends...somewhat demented old friends. They're usually there when you need them...rainy days, late at night, holidays. And there's a Lifetime movie for any occasion...rom com, horror, thrillers, mysteries, action.

For my tastes, many Lifetime efforts are more entertaining than big budget HBO fare. Not everyone shares my love of Lifetime, and that's cool. If you're a fan of Lifetime and LMN, tune in to this blog for insights on the movies and actors that make these networks worth watching.