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Monday, April 18, 2016

REVIEW: House of Darkness

I'll admit it. I love Lifetime horror movies! I really dig the network's detours into the supernatural with movies like "High School Possession," "Hunting Season," "You Belong to Me" and last night's LMN premiere "House of Darkness."

Twitter was buzzing over this movie and with good reason. It was a perfect way to wind down the weekend! What better way to kick off the work week than with fresh memories of a haunted house tale!

The movies focuses on a couple trying to salvage their relationship. Of course, this happens in almost EVERY Lifetime movie. In this one, however, Kelly (Sarah Fletcher) and Brian (Gunner Wright) move to a gorgeous plantation house away from the big city. You see, Kelly is a massage therapist and Brian can't stand the thought of her touching another man. So, she closes her business and moves to the country with him, so he can build furniture in his workshop. They bring along their daughter Sarah (Mykayla Sohn) and things are off to a rocky start.

First of all, mom and dad are in couples therapy and are encouraged to keep video journals of their feelings. That's scary enough, but Sarah starts to act really weird and starts to look sickly. She whispers something about cutting her pet birds' heads off (and it happens later) and locks her cousin in the basement. Adding to the family stress is that Kelly wants to have another baby, but hubby Brian is pretty much drunk and angry in every scene.

Things get really bad (and weird) when both Kelly and Brian start seeing figures in their house (kids in masks) and a hot couple across the street looks like it might be into the swinging scene.

As with any Lifetime movie, things take a while to build up. This movie has traces of "The Shining" and "Amityville Horror" but gets confusing toward its climax. BUT ... I was entertained if not baffled by certain elements of this movie. Admittedly, the four cocktails and a beer I enjoyed MAY have had something to do with this...but I think most audiences may agree with the curious parts of this movie. The most difficult thing to grasp is why in the heck Kelly would stick with Brian. The guy was a double douche! He seemed to think she was working for the massage joint in "The Client List!" Kudos to the leads for effectively portraying a frayed couple. And nice work by Sohn as their possibly bewitched daughter.

Director Patrick DeLuca is no stranger to ghostly material. He was an executive producer on shows like "My Haunted House" and "Paranormal State." With that in mind, he keeps things consistently creepy and opts for an ending (SEMI-SPOILER) that's straight out of an old EC horror comic.

If you like Lifetime's scarier movies, this one should be right up your alley. I liked it! Checkout the network's schedule for details on future airings.

"House of Darkness" - Directed by Patrick DeLuca: Starring Sara Fletcher as Kelly, Gunner Wright as Brian, Mykayla Sohn as Sarah, Brittany Falardeau as Jamie, Nikki Alexis Howard as Ellen

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Review: 'Dying To Be Loved"

It's a familiar Lifetime movie angle -- a mother's worst nightmare comes true when her daughter start dating a a dangerous douchebag. That's what happens in "Dying To Be Loved," but mom isn't going to sit back and let some jerk brainwash her kid.

The movie stars Lifetime vet Lindsay Hartley ("Nightmare Nurse") as Jill. Everything is going great. She's engaged to Connor, a handsome guy with a heart of gold. And she loves her daughter Emily (Paloma Kwiatokowski) dearly. Emily has some issues though. She's an emotional mess and on a ton of meds.

Emily's knight in shining armor rides into her life in the form of Gary (Jedidiah Goodacre), a college security guard. This guy is a smooth talker and Emily falls hard for him. He makes a terrible impression on Jill when he acts like a lout ... even suggesting a threesome with her and Emily! Although his family seems nice enough (his brother is a cop), Gary is a first-class weasel.

Jill begins to learn some things about Gary through a private investigator and does her best to try to intervene in this ill-fated romance. Connor, however, is little to no help and thinks she may be overreacting.

Things come to a head when Emily and Gary apparently commit suicide as a gesture of love. Before the director can cue "Don't Fear the Reaper," Jill plays detective in an attempt to prove that they might be alive.

This is an above average Lifetime movie with solid performances, particularly from Hartley and Kwiatokowski. Goodacre, however, steals the show as the bombastic Gary. He's definitely one of the most despicable Lifetime villains I've seen in a while.

Director Paul Shapiro keeps things rolling along at a nice pace and inserts enough red herrings and clues to keep audiences interested.

"Dying To Be Loved" is a solid effort yet very typical of Lifetime fare. It has several plot elements we've seen in other movies on the network but comes across as a sharp thriller. If you missed last night's premiere, look for it in the Lifetime or LMN schedule soon.

"Dying To Be Loved": Directed by Paul Shapiro: Starring Lindsay Hartley as Jill, Paloma Kwiatokowski as Emily, Jedidiah Goodacre as Gary, Dan Payne as Connor, James Pizzinato as Ritchie, Jay Brazeau as Al

Monday, April 11, 2016

Not on Lifetime: 'The Drifter'

This blog doesn't solely showcase movies airing on Lifetime or LMN. It spotlights movies with Lifetime qualities ... those with far out plots focused on sex, murder, mystery, cheesy romance, etc.  This week, This TV airs a movie that would fit perfectly on Lifetime ... "The Drifter."

I've seen this listed previously and finally took a chance on this 1988 thriller starring Kim Delaney (previously of Lifetime's "Army Wives") and Miles O'Keefe (who played the title character in "Tarzan, the Ape Man"). Delaney is fashion designer Julia who is en route to Los Angeles following a business trip. She runs into hitchhiker Trey (O'Keefe), who looks like he's headed to the Sunset Strip with long locks and tight jeans. She's reluctant to pick him up but ultimately relents. She also sleeps with him too ... which may have been her second mistake.

Once back in L.A., she tells Trey that their road romance is officially over. He's not having it and begins calling her and showing up at her workplace. "When you make love with someone, it's a forever thing," he tells her. It doesn't help that Julia is in a relationship with douchey lawyer Arthur (Timothy Bottoms), who is somewhat suspicious of her. People start winding up dead and Julia seeks help from the cops  -- including a cool, concerned detective (played by the movie's director Larry Brand).

I can't go too much further without offering spoilers, but definitely check this out. If you miss the 1980s, this movie will definitely take you back to the era ... especially with Delaney's dated wardrobe. And try not to mind the boom mics that sometimes pop up in shots or bad editing. This is definitely a forerunner of the modern day Lifetime epic. Plus, it has Bruce Villanch in a very small cameo and is produced by B-movie master Roger Corman.

"The Drifter" airs again tomorrow on This, April 12 at 6 a.m. (CST), so set the DVR or brew a pot of coffee! It's a perfect blend of 1980s sleaze and cheese to satisfy any Lifetimer's tastes.

Friday, April 8, 2016

A 'Perfect' Friday on LMN

I don't know about you, but I am a sucker for themed double features and marathons on LMN! Tonight, the network hosts a "Perfect" double feature with "Perfect High" and "The Perfect Girlfriend." So ... grab the perfect cocktail and curl up on the couch.

The fun kicks off at 7 p.m. (CST) with the semi-serious "Perfect High." This is one of those Lifetime features that's reminiscent of old school made-for-TV movies with a message and after school specials. Amanda (Bella Thorne) is a teenage dancer who's destined for success. After a serious injury, she begins to recuperate with the aid of painkillers. Unfortunately, her dependence on these pills grows and she falls in with the wrong crowd. Before long, she's seriously abusing pharmaceuticals and making a mess of her life. This is one of those "inspired by a true story" movies and is definitely one of the network's more serious offerings.

Next up is "The Perfect Girlfriend" at 9 p.m. ,which is classic LMN fare. Simone (Adrienne Frantz in an awesome performance) is an insecure nutcase. Unfortunately, she's also in a management position. When handsome Brandon (Jon Cor) begins to work for her, sparks fly. Well, they fly in Simone's crazy eyes. Brandon is committed to a long-distance relationship with his dedicated girlfriend Jensyn (Ashley Leggat). It doesn't take a psychic to predict that Simone is out to sabotage the relationship and dig her claws into Brandon. She even tricks him into caring for her dog Bentley (another great performance). Of course, she doesn't even own a dog, so she runs out an adopts one! Bentley's a good judge of character and destroys some of her shoes. Simone seduces Scott and screws up his life royally, but Jensyn is determined to rescue him.

So, it's TGILifetime tonight! A perfect evening of drugs, sex and lies! So, pick up a six-pack, order a pizza and get ready for another awesome evening of TV courtesy of LMN.

Friday, April 1, 2016

The Wonder Women of Lifetime!!

I haven't seen "Batman v. Superman," but the buzz is that Wonder Woman steals the show. Lifetime and LMN watchers know that these networks spotlight plenty of super ladies who kick ass. Here's a look at five women who make Lifetime worth watching and can likely give the Amazon princess a run for her money.

Natasha Henstridge

Many people will always remember the gorgeous and tough Henstridge from her breakout role in "Species." If you're a Lifetimer, you've seen her in a slew of great thrillers including "Widow on the Hill," "The Devil's Teardrop," "A Sister's Nightmare" and "The Perfect Student" among others. She also has had her share of action roles ("Ghosts of Mars," TV's "She Spies"). Sexy, statuesque and stunning, she would make an awesome on-screen Wonder Woman! And she's a solid actor! Anyone who's seen the previously mentioned classic "Widow on the Hill" would agree...even though she plays a villain.

Charisma Carpenter

Carpenter is another ass kicker. She became a bad ass by battling vampires on "Angel" and took her talents to the big screen in "The Expendables" series (opposite the toughest screen stars of all time -- Jason Statham, Sylvester Stallone, etc.). She's definitely super hero material. Just check her out in "Crash Site" (which frequently airs on Lifetime or LMN). She has to battle the elements and fend off hungry wolves. Definitely look for this movie the next time it airs. She also has a sexy side -- as if I had to tell you that. She takes a walk on the wild side in "Cheater's Club" and fans get a double dose of Carpenter when she plays twins in "Deadly Sibling Rivalry."

Victoria Pratt

Pratt is definitely Justice League worthy. She has super hero experience thanks to roles on shows like "Mutant X" and "Cleopatra 2525." Her super talents also have found a home on Lifetime and LMN with roles in several features including "A Daughter's Nightmare," "A Nanny's Revenge," "Hush Little Baby," "A Date to Die For" and numerous others. Pratt is definitely right at home in action roles, but she effectively pulls off sensitive roles as well.

Josie Davis

Perfect blue eyes, a perfect physique ... it's no wonder this talented actor is cast in Lifetime/LMN epics like "The Perfect Assistant" and "Dirty Teacher." Who would have imagined that the brainy kid from "Charles in Charge" would grow up to be such a versatile actor. She's great as a hero and a villain! And she's omnipresent on Lifetime/LMN thanks to roles in the previously mentioned movies and "Dirty Teacher," "Accidental Obsession," "Seduced by Lies," etc.