Dumb movie reviews

During the pandemic of 2020, working mostly from home, I quickly discovered that I enjoyed working on my laptop, a cup of coffee beside me, with something playing on the TV. But it had to be the right something. A well-plotted movie or engaging TV show would be too distracting. I needed entertainment that was more on the level of white noise. I started out watching dumb scary movies–things like Deadly Detention, Stalker Club, Slumber Party Massacre–you get the picture.

When I ran out of those, I (re)discovered Lifetime movies. And what a treasure trove the Lifetime movie catalogue is. Movies that seem like they were written by a bored–sometimes horny–housewife with a loose grasp of motivation and plot. Stories where ordinary soccer moms find themselves embroiled in murder mysteries, where teen girls must fend off stalker heart surgeons, where a boss of a struggling ad agency begins to suspect that his over-eager secretary murdered his wife in hopes of replacing her.

These are stories you can let wash over you while you read a technical manual or debug a program. These are characters whose frenzied lives can keep you awake when the words on your screen start running together. Some are even stories you might want to return to someday. But they are such obscure TV-movies, with names that change depending on what platform hosts them, that finding them again can be difficult. And that is why I created this page: to catalogue and critique some of the dumb movies I’ve seen that I might someday want to re-see.

Thrill of the Kill (2006) – 5/5

This is currently my favorite cheesy murder-mystery TV movie, partly because it’s so silly, partly because Shiri Appleby is so girl-next-door, and partly because the protagonist is a runner and I love it when a movie has characters who are runners. The premise is a woman happens upon a crime novel where the victim seems torn from the pages of her dearly departed sister’s diary and the victim’s murder also is exactly like her sister’s murder. She hunts down the novelist who admits he based the book on an actual murder but not her sister’s. They decide a serial killer must be on the loose and resolve to hunt the killer themselves. The protagonist is played by Shiri Appleby, who comes across as wholesome and lovable. The novelist is played by Chris Potter, who has been in a million TV movies and shows including Hallmark’s Good Witch films and a host of Lifetime thrillers including The Perfect Assistant and Rush of Fear. Writer: John Benjamin Martin. Production company: Incendo Productions.

The Perfect Assistant (2008) – 3/5

A man’s wife dies leaving him a single parent, and his eager-to-please assistant steps in to fill the void. But maybe she’s a little too eager, and maybe his wife’s death wasn’t an accident. I watched this one because it stars Josie Davis who, besides being super hot, plays an amazing obsession-fueled villain in several Lifetime movies. Chris Potter playing the widower/father was a bonus. Writers: Christine Conradt, Shawn Howard. Production company: Lance Entertainment.

Willed to Kill (2012) – 2/5

A detective whose mother was murdered in front of her when she was a little girl suspects a recent string of murders were perpetrated by her mother’s long-dormant killer. Oh and for some reason her boss partners her with her slutty ex-husband. This movie had all the ingredients for an entertaining, over-the-top TV movie but somehow just didn’t pull it off. The plot was just too incoherent with too many holes for even me to forgive. Writer: James Phillips. Production company: Incendo Productions.

Stalked by My Neighbor (2015) 5/5

A teenaged city girl gets raped while Skyping with her mom, so they move to the burbs. Things quickly heat up when the girl, played by Kelcie Stranahan, suspects a neighbor’s accidental death is actually a murder carried out by a vengeful neighbor. Of course her mother and the police dismiss her concerns, forcing her to take matters into her own hands. Katrina Norman plays the goody-goody niece of the murder victim (she literally goes to Jesus Camp). Grant Harvey plays the is-he-a-killer-or-misunderstood-hearthrob role. This is a movie in the tradition of Rear Window, The ‘Burbs, Disturbia, and The Neighbor, inter alia. Written by: Doug Campbell. Production co: Johnson Production Group (JPG).

Stalked by My Mother (2016) 4/5

A disapproving mother stalks her high-school-aged daughter’s frat bro boyfriend. When he’s murdered, you’d think she’d be the prime suspect; but, no, the police arrest the daughter instead. The daughter believes her mother is framing her for murder and hires a down-and-out private eye to get to the bottom of things. This might be the most over the top Lifetime movie of all time. It features identity theft, stalking, murder, a frame-up, kidnapping, car chases, even a bomb! It has it all, and I loved every minute of it. Written by: Doug Campbell. Production company: Johnson Management Group (JMG). Other titles: Stalked by My Mom.

Stalked by My Doctor (2015, 2016, 2018, 2019) – 5/5

Eric Roberts has to be the most prolific character actor of all time. IMDb has him in almost 600 titles as of September 2020. He will play literally any role that pays. For instance, the same year the first Stalked by My Doctor movie came out, he also played in The Human Centipede III and Rihanna’s Bitch Better Have My Money. Here he shines as Dr Albert Beck, a deranged heart surgeon with an unsavory and obsessive taste for teen girls. The first of this film series is my favorite (so far). It includes kidnapping, grave robbing (okay, mortuary robbing), a faked death, a car bomb, breaking-and-entering, attempted dismemberment, gaslighting, sexual assault (he kisses a sedated teen, played by Brianna Joy Chomer), and of course stalking. While the first movie is my favorite, the 2016 sequel is the most disturbing since the plot is straight out of the pedophile playbook (pedo dates parent to get access to child). Pro tip: The movies were made out of order and should be watched like this: 2015, 2018, 2016, 2019. Written by: Doug Campbell. Production co: JPG.

Stalker Club (2017) – 3/5

This is a teen slasher film with a pretty straightforward plot. A group of teens receives a text message asking if they’d like to join the Stalker Club. They dare each other into joining, and that’s when they start dying. The plot gets twisty-turny when it’s revealed that their parents were also in a Stalker Club in high school. Is this movie dumb? Yes. Would I watch a sequel? Yes. Hell, I would write the sequel. I watched it because it stars Kelcie Stranahan who I first saw in Stalked by My Neighbor. In one scene, she even wears the same outfit from the other movie. Writers: Alan Donahue, Barbara Kymlicka. Production co: JPG.

The Wrong Son (2018) – 2/5

A young boy disappears. Years later, almost immediately after the father’s death, a young man shows up saying he’s the long-lost son. At first he makes out like he’s there to meet the fam, but eventually he admits he’s there for inheritance, and he wants his in cash. When bad things start happening, the fam starts wondering if he’s who he says he is and if he killed their patriarch. This movie is okay but is so dumb it’s hard to enjoy. The only highlight is Paloma Guzmán (who played Ezra’s ex-fiancée in Pretty Little Liars). Alternate title: Her Son’s Secret. Writers: Nick Everhart, Shane O’Brien. Production co: Synthetic Cinema.

A list of some of the dumb shit from The Wrong Son (spoiler alert):
(I) On the day her son disappears, Mom notices a creepy woman staring at her family. She apparently never bothers mentioning this to the authorities.
(II) Home alone in the middle of the night, Mom catches Wrong Son snooping around outside. As soon as he says, “I’m your son,” she brings him in for tea and lets him stay the night. Zero attempts to verify his identity first.
(III) Wrong Son’s story makes no sense, but Mom doesn’t question it. He disappeared on a beach in the middle of the day. There were searchers everywhere for days. The story was all over the local news. But the kindly man who found him never saw the news and neither did anyone at the hospital he took him to nor any of the social workers he interacted with before being placed in foster care? Hmmm.
(IV) When Wrong Son says he has no way to confirm his identity–no ID or school records or legal documents–everybody is just like, “Oh. Okay. That makes sense.”
(V) A family member gets seriously injured in a car accident that he suspects was the result of sabotage on the part of Wrong Son. Does he call the police? No! Does he have the car inspected? No! Disabled and in need of 24/7 care, he (a wealthy venture capitalist) agrees to move in with Wrong Son who has offered to care for him.
(VI) Wrong Son breaks into a venture capital firm’s ultramodern office building in the middle of the night undetected. There’s no indication of (1) how he managed it or (2) why he did it.
(VII) One of the characters is friends with a police detective. People get injured. People disappear. People die. Nobody calls the police.
(VIII) When Wrong Son tries to kill Disabled Character for the second time, and the character tells his wife, she doesn’t believe him. She says he’s too drugged up to know what’s real. Then she immediately initiates sex with him. He’s too drugged up to know what’s real but not too drugged up to consent to sex?
(IX) Disabled Character tells his mom about the first murder attempt and his wife about the second one but nobody about both.
(X) After his accident, which resulted in internal injuries requiring emergency surgery, Disabled Character wakes up not in a hospital but in his mother’s house?
(XI) The company Mom and Wrong Son use for a DNA test apparently does not have a website and does everything by snail mail.
(XII) A law firm is executing Patriarch’s will but has zero involvement in verifying Wrong Son’s identity.
(XIII) A bad guy just happens to have a rag full of chloroform handy when a do-gooder wanders onto their property.
(XIV) Every female character over 30, no matter her financial circumstances, has Hollywood housewife duckface.

The Perfect Stalker (2016) – 3/5

A mentally ill woman (Danielle Savre) murders her deeply-devoted husband (Scott Gibson) after he tries to take her to a shrink. She starts a new life with the insurance money and immediately falls for her neighbor (Jefferson Brown of The Good Witch). But how to reel him in? And what to do about his pesky live-in girlfriend? This movie has a lot of fun stuff including murder, obsession, an amateur sleuth, a made-up stalker, an actual stalker, many cringey seduction attempts and several steamy fantasy sequences. Writers: Suzanne Dolan, Bryan Dick. Production co: Reel One Entertainment.

Deadly Influencer (2019) – 3/5

A high schooler is obsessed with latching on to other high school girls and turning them into social media influencers, and she’s incredibly good at it. The problem? She wants them to sign decade-long contracts with her; and, if they don’t, they die. This movie was fun to watch. It was a little hard to believe that a high schooler would be that good of a manager. It was also perplexing that, as obsessed with social media as she was, and as good at making viral content as she was, she didn’t just do the influencer thing herself. I thought everybody gave good performances. Morgan Taylor Campbell plays the antagonist and makes her almost believable which is saying something. Writer: Stephen Romano. Production co: Reel One Entertainment.

Deadly Sorority (2017) – 4/5

Two childhood best friends go off to college together, but only one makes it into a sorority. To stay in the sorority she has to unfriend her bestie–a sacrifice she proves willing to make. When she turns up dead, all fingers point to her former BFF. Finding herself a pariah on campus, the surviving friend (Greer Grammer) sets out to bring the killer to justice and clear her own name in the process. Murders, abductions, bullying, philandering, jealousy, frame-ups, suicide-with-a-question-mark, this movie has a lot to offer. The plot is way over the top, characters are cut out of cardboard, motivation is thin, cops are dumb as a box of rocks, but it’s a fun show all the same. Writer: Rolfe Kanefsky. Production co: Reel One Entertainment.

I’ll Be Watching (2018) – 3/5

This is a dumb movie based on a dumb book and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The inciting incident is a psycho stalker sees a pretty girl (Janel Parrish) reading a book called The Purple Rose (which is the name of the book the movie is based on–no idea why the movie isn’t just called The Purple Rose) and starts leaving purple roses on her doorstep. Obsession turns to murder turns to serial murder. The whole movie came across as a female masturbatory fantasy to me. There are three kinds of men in this movie: (1) good guys who just want to protect the damsel in distress while showering her with platonic affection, (2) good guys who are wealthy and hot and want to marry the damsel in distress, and (3) bad guys who want to rape and murder the damsel in distress but are of course ultimately doomed because there are just so many good guys orbiting the magnetic little lady. And oh my god the theme song is so bad. Writer: Sydney Ortman. Production companies: Wassat Productions; Go2 Chroma, LLC; The Purple Rose, LLC.

Fiancé Killer (2018) – 2/5

A business mogul who looks suspiciously like an over-the-hill Hollywood housewife is about to give her beautiful but young and painfully naive daughter a million dollar lump sum inheritance. Then she finds out Daughter has met a mystery man who is rushing her to marry him. Is he who he says he is? Is he in love with Daughter or her money? And who’s that strange lady who seems to be following him around? This movie was so so so dumb yet somehow entertaining. The daughter was way too educated, attractive and rich to be that insecure. Probably would not watch it again, but it was a fun if mind-numbing ride. Production co: Reel One Entertainment.

Secrets of My Stepdaughter (2017) – 3/5

I watched this because it stars Josie Davis who I am officially in love with. This is the first movie I’ve see her in where she plays the good guy. The premise is: A woman (Josie) marries a man who has a daughter he hasn’t seen in years. One day the estranged daughter shows up and says her mom kicked her out. Dad and Stepmom happily take her in. But things get ugly when Stepdaughter’s BFF dies a violent death and she seems to bask in the sympathy and celebrity it brings her. Claws come out when Stepmom’s attempts to reign in Stepdaughter’s sociopathic behavior are met with escalating vitriol and violence. I liked the movie, but I definitely prefer when Josie is the bad guy. Writer: Conor Allyn. Production co: Reel One Entertainment.

Her Secret Family Killer (2020) – 5/5

A woman’s (Brooke Nevin of I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer) friends and family are dropping like flies and the results of a DNA test suggest the killer is a relative. This movie was surprisingly well done with good direction, camera work and a fast-paced script with fewer plot holes than the typical Lifetime thriller. The acting however is atrocious. Would watch again; if fact, I already have. Production co: Reel One Entertainment.

The Wrong Teacher (2018) – 4/5

A high school teacher (former teen model and soap star Jessica Morris) with a lackluster love life throws caution to the wind and lets a one night stand (Philip McElroy) pound her in her classroom late one night. Unfortunately, that one night stand turns out to be a high school student who enrolls in her class the following semester. To make things worse, he’s a psycho stalker who will stop at nothing to either have her or destroy her. Eric Roberts has a small role as Vice Principal Clark. I am looking forward to The Wrong Fiancé which is supposed to come out this year and also stars Jessica Morris. Production co: Hybrid, LLC.

Killer Crush (2015) – 3/5

This is similar to other obsessed-woman flicks like The Perfect Stalker and The Perfect Assistant. In this one, a young medical student will do anything to take the place of her middle-aged instructor’s ailing wife, including kill. And kill she does. There is more background and character development in this film than the others mentioned, and the result is a more believable character and story. The plot includes murder, suicide, a frame-up, and stalking. Production co: Reel One Entertainment.

The Boogey Man (1980) – 0/5

This movie is hot garbage. I got maybe ten minutes into it and couldn’t take it anymore. Looks and sounds like it was shot on a flip phone. Director: Ulli Lommel. Other titles: Boogeyman.

Your Family or Your Life (2019) – 1/5

A woman’s husband dies. A suicide note is found nearby. The police write it up as a suicide, but his widow suspects foul play. This movie was about as incoherent as they come. I had a hard time keeping up with all the characters, subplots and twists and turns. Also, the hitman was played by a goofy looking guy with a man bun. Production co: LRPD, LLC.

Psycho Party Planner (2020) – 3/5

Katrina Begin plays an unhinged party planner who is obsessed with the teen girl whose sweet sixteen party she is planning. And she’s a two-time murderer. And she plies children with drugs and booze. And she blackmails people into doing her bidding. The story features murder, stalking, blackmail and an assortment of other bad behavior. Production co: Beta Film GMBH.

Killer Vacation (2018) – 3/5

A woman gets knocked-up by her married boss who freaks out when she tells him she’s prego but then turns around and invites her on vacation with him. At their destination, our protagonist discovers the wife has followed them and is understandably miffed. Does Boss love Protagonist? Is he really divorcing Wife? Did he bring Protagonist there to kill her? Is Wife trying to kill her? And what about his last girlfriend who died under mysterious circumstances? Fun movie, but the characters are all kinda garbage people. Production co: Reel One Entertainment.

All My Husband’s Wives (2019) – 3/5

A man dies in a hit-and-run “accident” and three women discover that (1) they’re all married to him and (2) they’re all murder suspects. Who killed him? Will they kill again? What other secrets was Husband keeping from them? And what secrets might they be keeping from each other? They’ll have to become frenemies to find out! This movie includes bigamy, murder, suicide, girl fights, secret bank accounts, sooo much blackmail (emotional and otherwise), back-stabbing, a drive-by, a goon-for-hire, a host of felonies and at least one person screaming in a very crazy voice, “I’m not crazy!” Erin Karpluk plays the stolid protagonist, but Kate Corbett steals the show as a clownishly psychotic rival wife. Like Killer Vacation, I liked this move, but I didn’t like any of the characters, so I probably wouldn’t watch it again. AKA: Rule of 3. Production co: Incendo Media, Inc.

The Girl He Met Online (2014) – 3/5

A young woman reacts violently to any minor inconvenience. Yep. That pretty much sums it up. I know that doesn’t sound like a good movie, but Yvonne Zima (Geena Davis’s daughter in The Long Kiss Goodnight and Tom Sizemore’s child hostage in Heat) plays Gillian with this casually-sinister black-widow-in-the-making vibe that I enjoyed watching. The story was idiotic, and I look forward to a sequel. Production co: Lance Entertainment, Inc.

The Monster Project (2017) – 1/5

A garbage found-footage film about some friends with a YouTube channel who put an ad in the paper seeking “monsters” to interview on camera. Boring, poorly written, poorly acted, poorly shot with shit special effects. I fast-forwarded to a scene where Yvonne Zima plays a mischievous vampire then I turned it off. Production co: Epic Pictures (really I think they were just the distributor).

His Deadly Affair (2019) – 3/5

This is one of those movies that’s really dumb but everyone in it is really hot so you almost don’t mind. The premise is a hot older man (Max Ryan) who is also a rich and famous conductor likes to fuck the youngest, dumbest, prettiest girls in his orchestra (eg Helena Mattsson) while keeping them in the dark about (1) the fact that he’s married and (2) the fact that his girlfriends tend to die before they’re old enough to drink. This plot has sex, murder, jealousy, betrayal, kidnapping, and so many holes it must’ve been written at Camp Green Lake. Also starring Danielle C. Ryan (of Stalked by My Mom fame). Original title: Swipe Right, Run Left. Production companies: Nasser Group & Left Foot Productions.

My Wife’s Secret Life (2019) – 4/5

An unhappily-married woman (Kate Villanova) has a one night stand with an instagram-model-lookin’ dude (Matthew MacCaull) who then stalks her and her entire family. There were some major plot holes but none so egregious as to ruin the movie for me. Also, the three main characters are all pretty, so that helps. Includes infidelity, stalking, blackmail, kidnapping, violence, a private eye, a setup, and a mad man tying a woman to a tree and then going on a rant about his wristwatch. Production co: Reel One Entertainment.

Fatal Defense (2017) 3/5

Traumatized by a sadistic home-invader, Ashley Scott (the slutty nurse in Just Friends) signs up for martial arts classes, but her instructor (David Cade) is no Mr Miyagi, and the final exam is pass-or-die. So dumb but entertaining. Probably wouldn’t watch again, mostly because the main character is boring. Includes murder, kidnapping, obsession, one of those wimpy-kid-learns-to-fight montages, and a 5-foot-9 former model snapping the bones of men twice her size in very unbelievable fight scenes. Production co: Maple Island Films.

Dirty Teacher (2013) 5/5

Josie Davis plays a high school teacher who isn’t afraid to show off her assets, or to use them to get what she wants, and she’s got her sights set on her dumb-jock student (Cameron Deane Stewart) whose good-girl girlfriend (Kelcie Stranahan) has left him with a terminal case of blue balls. This film dishes stalking, murder, child abuse, mental illness, an elaborate frame-up, a detective (Lesli Kay) who looks like she thinks she’s in an Anne Rice novel, and of course a high school teacher seducing her student. Production companies: JPG & Shadowland.

The Perfect Teacher (2010) – 4/5

A sociopathic high-schooler with daddy issues (Megan Park) falls hard for her teacher (David Charvet), and anyone who gets in her way is gonna get hurt. This story reminded me of Dirty Teacher with the stalker and stalkee roles reversed. The two movies even feature similar murders followed by less-similar frame-ups. Production co: Thrill Films Inc, Capital Productions (SV) Inc, Corus Entertainment Inc.

Demonic (2015) 2/5

This is a meh scary movie that combines found-footage with normal film. The premise is a tired one: some ghost hunters go to a haunted house and get more than they bargained for. It’s a boring plot with a decent ending. I only watched it because Megan Park is in it. An example of the kinds of things that make me dislike this movie: The ghost hunters have to traipes through the woods to get to the haunted house because it’s so remote and neglected, but when they get there the lawn has obviously been recently mowed (eye roll). Production cos: Dimension Films, First Point Entertainment.

Blind Trust (2007) 3/5

A woman (Jessica Capshaw, of Valentine fame) doesn’t realize her boyfriend is cheating on her with her roommate until she’s arrested for their murder. Lucky for her a big-name attorney (Art Hindle, of Paradise Falls and Black Christmas (1974)) offers to represent her for free. This story basically has 3 acts, and each act is a separate genre. The first 10 minutes are a romance. The next 30 minutes are a (booooring) courtroom procedural. And the last 45 minutes are a crime thriller. I give the romance 3 stars, the procedural 2 stars and the thriller 4 stars, which averages out to 3. I would watch this again, but I would skip the courtroom stuff. Two notes: (1) I guess this isn’t a Lifetime movie, since you get to see tits. (2) What’s going on during the opening credits is actually important, so pay attention. Production companies: Incendo Productions, POWER, and Anne Carlucci Productions.

Perfect Plan (2010) 4/5

A down and out realtor (Emily Rose) gets her dream listing. But maybe it’s too good to be true. And what about that mysterious double murder that started the movie? This story includes murder, identity theft, a fair amount of TV-PG fucking, and amateur sleuths getting up to typical Lifetime movie shenanigans. Production co: Incendo Productions.

The Killing Pact (2017) 1/5

A meek, kindhearted, single mother is drawn into a strangers-on-a-train scenario with two other people despite telling them she isn’t interested. I liked Emily Rose in Perfect Plan, so I thought I would like this. I was wrong. It was even worse than The Wrong Son. Not one character in this story behaves the way an actual human being would in the same situation. Turned it off halfway through. Production cos: SunWorld Pictures, Silver Peak Productions.

Framed by My Fiancé (2017) 4/5

A young nurse (Katrina Bowden, of Piranha 3DD) is blissfully happy with her fiancé (Jason-Shane Scott, of basically every Lifetime movie titled The Wrong _____)–until he kills someone while drinking and driving and asks her to take the blame. And he’s not taking no for an answer. To make matters worse, the wife of the dearly departed (Valynn Turkovich) has a vindictive streak. Production co: Reel One Entertainment.

My Baby Is Missing (2007) 3/5

A pregnant woman (Gena Philips, of Jeepers Creepers) takes some “prenatal vitamins” an at-home nurse gave her and wakes up days later to the news that her baby is dead and the police think she killed it. But is her baby dead? And what was in those pills? And whatever became of the phantom nurse? Well, you’ll have to stumble through many a plot hole to find out. Production co: Venice Productions, MBIM Productions.

Blood Rage (1987) 3/5

A woman takes her identical twin boys to a lovers’ lane and tells them to wait in her car while her boyfriend fucks her in his. One of her sons murders the man and, before anybody can figure out what’s going on, he manages to put the weapon in his brother’s hand. The good son goes to an insane asylum while the bad son lives a charmed life. But things come to a head, and the bodies start piling up, when the good son breaks out of the asylum the same day mom announces her intention to marry her new boyfriend. This movie is way over the top and dumb as hell but has enough t&a and blood and gore to keep you entertained. AKA Nightmare at Shadow Woods.

Look Away (2018) 5/5

A beautiful, rich high-schooler with an eating disorder (India Eisley) has no friends or love interests and is the target of school bullies until her dark side takes over and people start dying. Is the premise dumb? Yes. A gorgeous, rich, young thing can’t get a boyfriend or make friends? Yeah, right. But it’s so well executed that I don’t even think it belongs on this page because it didn’t come across as dumb at all. Bonus: Mira Sorvino has a small role. Production cos: Dana Lustig Productions, Primary Wave Entertainment, Vertical Entertainment, Buffalo Gal Pictures.

Nanny Cam (2014) 5/5

A busy couple (Laura Allen & Cam Gigandet) hires a beautiful, young woman (India Eisley) to babysit their daughter while they keep an eye on things via nanny cam. But Wife grows wary when Nanny starts doing things like playing in the sprinkler in a white t-shirt while Hubby watches. This story serves lots of plot twists with only a few holes. All in all, a fun ride. AKA Sitter Cam. Production co: Marvista Entertainment, Indy Entertainment.

April Fool’s Day (1986) 2/5

A rich girl invites some friends to her private island on April Fool’s Day, and they start dying. This was dumb and boring, and the twist ending was incredibly stupid. I’m surprised it has above-average reviews for the genre/period. I probably would have liked it more in the spring of this year (2020) when I was working from home full time and just watching these movies out of the corner of my eye; but now it’s November and I’m working in an office and watching movies on the weekend and need something that can actually capture my attention. Very little blood and gore, no T&A. Production co: Paramount.

Truth or Dare (2017) 3/5

When some college kids play truth or dare in an old house with a bloody history, an evil force co-opts the game, forcing them to do and say horrible things. This is PG-13 torture porn, less about scaring you than making you cringe. Very similar to Would You Rather as well as other truth or dare films. Production co: Cinetel Films.

Polaroid (2019) 3/5

When someone takes your picture with this camera, you die. Was this a dumb movie? Yes. Was it entertaining? Also yes. Typical teen screams flick in the tradition of movies like The Ring and The Grudge. Remake of a 2015 film of the same name that received slightly better reviews. Production co: Dimension Films.

Truth or Die (2012) 3.5/5

Some wayward youth humiliate a socially awkward peer at a party and then, a year later, happily accept an invitation to his birthday celebration somehow unsuspecting anything could be amiss. David Oakes plays a truly creepy villain, and Jennie Jacques does a decent job as his antagonist. The end was a little weird and over the top, but, all in all, a much better movie than expected. Original title: Truth or Dare. Production cos: The Collective, Bloody Disgusting, Corona Pictures, AV Pictures, Met Film Post.

Truth or Dare (2013) 0/5

A group of YouTubers who call themselves the–eye roll–“Truth or Daredevils” piss off their only fan and presumably pay the price. I made it about five minutes past the opening credits and couldn’t take anymore. The title sequence alone was painful to sit through. This has to be a student film. It is a very very bad one.

Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare (2018) 5/5

College kids vacationing in Mexico get drawn into a game of truth or dare that they quickly learn is (1) deadly and (2) endless. This is the first truth or dare movie I watched and my favorite. Mostly watched it because it stars Lucy Hale (Pretty Little Liars). Also featuring Landon Liboiron (Hemlock Grove) and Sophia Ali (Grey’s Anatomy). AKA: Truth or Dare. Production co: Universal Pictures, Blumhouse Productions.

One Missed Call (2008) 3/5

You answer the phone. It’s your future self. They want to tell you exactly when you’re going to die (hint: it’s soon). And, by the way, your death is really going to suck. This movie was silly with subpar (and completely unnecessary) CGI and I liked it. It’s basically Final Destination if Death phoned first. Based on the Japanese film Chakushin ari which was based on a Japanese novel of the same name. Production co: Alcon Entertainment.

Murder in the Suburbs (2019) – 4/5

A teenaged girl (Alexandria DeBerry) realizes she might have been involved in a fatal hit and run while blackout drunk a year ago and that her family is renting the Airbnb of the dangerously unhinged woman (Anna Hutchison) whose family died. But who’s killing people now? This movie has some plot holes and some bad acting but is entertaining, fast-paced and full of pretty people (eg Nicky Whelan). The worst part of the movie was honestly the third act which must have been a single take with zero rewrites; this IMDB review sums it up quite well. AKA: Secrets at the Lake. Writers: Georgina Garcia Riedel, Anthony Del Negro. Production co: Reel One Entertainment, Dimension Films.

Pretty Little Stalker (2018) 3/5

A young woman with a violent past (Sierra McCormick) dates a self-help author’s teen son to get closer to her. When people start getting hurt, the author (Nicky Whelan) realizes trouble’s afoot. This movie was really dumb. I sorta half-watched it while doing dishes and cleaning the house. I’ve actually watched a better movie with a self-help-author-gets-stalked premise: Patient Killer. I mean, I’d watch this again, but it’s pretty far down the rewatch list. AKA: The Danger of Positive Thinking. Production cos: Gravitas Ventures, Reel One Entertainment.

Patient Killer (2014) 4/5

A self-help book author and shrink (Victoria Pratt, Mutant X) has the perfect life–until she realizes someone is out to get her. Could it be her obsessive, love-struck patient (Patrick Muldoon, Melrose Place)? Or maybe it’s the patient who has recurring dreams of murder (Barbie Castro, Boyfriend Killer). Or maybe it’s the jealous boyfriend (Casper Van Dien, Starship Troopers). Or the resentful ex (Richard Burgi, Desperate Housewives). Or the harangued assistant (Cristina Figarola). Or–as a detective (Antoni Corone) suspects–maybe she’s crazy and doing it to herself. Production co: MarVista Entertainment, Barbie Castro/Concord Films.

Campus Caller (2017) 2/5

A college girl goes missing and her police detective mother sets her sights on a mysterious bioengineering professor with whom her daughter butted heads. This movie answers the question of what happens when a LMN studio tries to make a sci-fi thriller. The answer is 90 minutes of absurdity (eg casually hacking the NSA to get your daughter’s cellphone GPS data) punctuated by meaningless technobabble and handwavium (scientist, holding clipboard: “The pigment of substantia nigra has decreased the neurons’ activity. Metastasis is rapid. [lowers head in defeat] Nothing but neuroplasms.”). Okay, so, while this was dumb as hell and I spent most of the movie on Twitter, I consider this watchable simply because it stars some people I like. Victoria Pratt (Patient Killer) plays the detective, Nicholas Lea (X-Files, The Killing, The Stand) plays Professor Drake, Morgan Taylor Campbell (Deadly Influencer) plays basically herself as a casual-goth hacker, Panta Mosleh (Deadly Sorority) plays a helpful college admin type, and Ireland Baldwin plays the missing girl. Writer: Paul Brady. Production co: Odyssey Media, NGN Productions.

Assumed Killer (2013) 3/5

A woman (Barbie Castro) wakes up in a hospital bed and learns that (1) she has amnesia and (2) she’s married to a hot, rich man (Casper Van Dien) who worshippers her like the goddess she is. Life is a fairytale–until she begins to suspect her husband’s a serial killer. Eric Roberts has a small role. Writer/Director: Bernard Salzmann. Production co: Concord Films, MarVista Entertainment, Inner Circle Films.

Boyfriend Killer (2017) 4/5

A young man dies in a motorcycle crash and his ex girlfriend (Kate Mansi) moves into his apartment and tells everyone she’s his fiancé. Will his mother (Barbie Castro) and father (Patrick Muldoon) uncover the truth in time to save others from their son’s fate and bring his killer to justice? This was entertaining and fast-paced. Kate Mansi played a great psycho ex-girlfriend, and the grieving family behaved more or less how one might expect. Writer: Christine Conradt. Production co: MarVista Entertainment, Barbie Castro/Concord Films.

Marriage Killer (2019) 3/5

A real estate developer’s business could face bankruptcy if he doesn’t close this deal with a local church group, so now’s a great time for him (Jason London, Dazed and Confused) and the wife (Barbie Castro) to start hanging out at sex clubs and having threesomes with unhinged women (Kristen Renton, One Small Indiscretion), right? And what if their teenaged daughter (Barbie’s daughter Taylor) starts hanging out at the sex club too? There are some major plot holes in this one, but there’s also group sex, booze, drugs, frame-ups, attempted murder, brainless cops, and soccer moms running from the police. Writers: Doug Campbell, David Chester. Production co: Barbie Castro/Concord Films.

Christmas Twister (2012) 2/5

I mean… the title really says it all. This was basically unwatchable. I tried, but I only made it about halfway through. Only watched it because it stars some of my favorite LMN actors (Victoria Pratt, Casper Van Dien, Richard Burgi), but they’re all fully clothed and spouting nonsense sciency lines and running from obviously CGI tornadoes. Writers: Hanz Wasserburger, Peter Sullivan. Production co: Hybrid.

Sleepwalking in Suburbia (2017) 4/5

A married woman with sexsomnia (Emilie Ullerup) somnambulates into the wrong bedroom and sets a deadly chain of events into motion. This is a fun, fast-paced movie with interesting subplots and supporting characters (eg Lucie Guest, Circe in Sabrina). My only problem with it is I hate the protagonist. She’s horrible. Can’t stand her. Other than that, fun movie. Writers: Alex Wright, Bryce Doersam. Production co: JPG.

Stalked by My Doctor: A Sleepwalker’s Nightmare (2019) 5/5

Lifetime’s zaniest stalker doctor (Eric Roberts) joins Lifetime’s sexiest sleepwalker (Emilie Ullerup) for a movie mashup full of psychotic delusions, stalking, murder and the occasional electroshock treatment. Also starring Angeline Appel as Ullerup’s naive niece with her own somnambulist kinks. This movie is a great pallet cleanser for Sleepwalking in Suburbia. I really hate Ullerup’s character in that movie, so I enjoyed watching her suffer–and redeem herself–in this one. Writer: Jeff Hare. Production co: JPG.

Extracurricular (2018) 3/5

A clique of overachieving high schoolers resorts to serial killing to alleviate boredom, but not all of them are as into it as the others. This was surprisingly good. A fun watch. Writers: Matthew Abrams, Padgett Arango. Production co: September17Studio.

A Christmas Mystery (2014) 3/5

A police officer dies mysteriously. 25 years later, his wife dies naturally. Their daughter, going through her mother’s things, discovers a stash of unsigned Christmas cards, all from the same person. Can she (Esmé Bianco) and a private detective (Ryan Bittle) track down her mother’s secret admirer? This movie is more Hallmark than Lifetime, and the fight scene at the end is soooo bad. A good movie to watch while doing something else. AKA: Secret Past. Writers: Joany Kane, Jeffrey Schenck. Production co: Hybrid, Production Media Group.

Deadly Detention (2017) 4/5

Saturday detention is being held at a vacant prison, while the high school gets fumigated, which proves well suited to keeping the kids locked in but much less suited to keeping a psycho slasher out. Starring Sarah Davenport (The Bachelor Next Door) and Alex Frnka (Stalker Club). Written by: Casie Tabanou, Alison Spuck McNeeley. Production cos: MarVista Entertainment, Fancy Pants Films.

The Bachelor Next Door (2017) 3/5

These newlyweds’ new neighbor is a little too interested in them, like placing-hidden-cameras-in-their-house too interested. This movie was fun and dumb, just like I like ’em. Only watched it because Sarah Davenport is in it; unfortunately, she’s only in the first 3 minutes. Starring Hilary Duff’s sister Haylie. Writer/Director: Michael Feifer. Production co: SF Productions, Feifer Worldwide.

Live Once, Die Twice (2006) 5/5

A woman’s (Kellie Martin, Death of a Cheerleader) perfect life is turned upside down when her husband (Martin Cummins) is lost at sea in a mysterious boat explosion and the FBI and some organized crime types start competing for her attention. Imho this movie is in close competition with Stalked by My Mother for most over the top Lifetime film ever. Gangsters, murder, bigamy, strippers (Cindy Sampson, Supernatural), PIs, fucking, car chases, explosions, fake identities; this movie has it all. Writer: John Benjamin Martin. Production co: Incendo Productions.

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