Maybe you’re up in the Cannuck neck of the TV movies woods and you saw this Lifetime “Shocktober” entry under its original title of Cradle Robber. Maybe you stumbled into this non-shocker on streaming home video as Dating to Kill. . . .
Wait a sec . . . the IMDb states this is a U.S.-production filmed in Los Angeles. . . .
Hey, it’s not my fault, for when you have a channel such as Lifetime drowning U.S. audiences with a wealth of Great White North productions, the land were Toronto can double for “Anywhere U.S.A.,” you naturally assume everything Lifetime distributes, is Canadian in origin. These are U.S. and not Maple Leaf’ed thespians, you say? One was born in Atlanta, Georgia, trained and based in Los Angeles?
Regardless of where it was made: This is just another Lifetime “Damsel in Distress” romp of the non-shocking, bloodless-horror variety. You know, the schlock the channel marathons under their yearly “Shocktober” banner to compete with the likes of the Micheal-Chucky-Freddy fetishists over at AMC and the SyFy Channel.
What Seduced by a Killer — or whatever title you give it — is, is really just another of their single-mother-hates-man flicks where all of the men are evil. Well, at least not the men who can take you to 4-Star joint to “clink” champagne flutes (but, in some plot twists, they are). Yeah, just like Olivia Benson and Amanda Rollins over in the SVU squad room: women can’t be strong and independent . . . if they’re in a stable, nurturing relationship with a man. Oh, by the way: mom is totally devoted to her ingrate of daughter, so well, she’s “strong,” so cue up the Helen Reddy homage and hear her roar.
“You’re never home, you’re always working. It’s like you don’t want to be here!” hotter-than-her-daughter mom browbeats her hardworking husband who put two, fully-loaded SUVs in a double-wide circular driveway of their two-story Colonial spread, as their perpetually-ingrate, ne’er-do-well, social-media obsessed daughter trots off to private school in the one-year-old sports car model that instills the furrow-of-eyebrow of among her “friends.” Then daughter goes home to scream at mom, “I’m eighteen! Let me live my own life! Look at this! I’m over my data, again. If you can’t at least get me a new car, you could buy me a decent cell phone!”
And boy, oh boy. The actress (Mia Topalian of LMN’s Stalking My Mother and The Nanny Murders, if you dare) as that bitchy teen is just awful. Awful to the point that when her whiny voice screeches, “What, what do you mean?” to the swing of her pony tail, you leave your protagonist sympathies at the door as you root for her unhappy end. Even I want to give Tessa a smack into some adult wisdom — and I deplore violence against women and using physical abuse as behavioral control. I don’t care that Teesa is in therapy to deal with her “issues” of being a well-to-do rich kid.
And Jessica-the-hot-mom, aka the-not-winning-any awards Clare Kramer (*loved for her work in the cheerleader flick, Bring It On, as well as Glory in TV’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer), well, she ain’t inspiring a rescue, either. You’re the worst salon operator, ever, Jessica. Why do you keep walking away from your clients in mid-hair cut to do other things?
I give up Lifetime-Canadian production houses. I have a “Y” chromosome, therefore, I am inherently chauvinistic. The females of the species have one more “X” than I, so, like the Amazonian warriors of old: single-motherhood is cool and it’s socially valiant to raise a kid without a father figure to instead leave the child raised by babysitters (talking to you, Olivia and Amanda), as you go off to “pursue your career,” sans any pesky male hindrances.
Bad Husband. Bad Boyfriend. Bad Son. Bad everything is the ongoing plot in these Lifetime flicks and I am annoyed as f**k with them. As I am annoyed with these . . . where are all of these 18-year-old girls that fall for 40-plus men? Where? Not that I want to date an 18 year old . . . oh, if “life” were only like a Lifetime movie, where I’d have an 18-year-old girlfriend, an ex-wife who hates me, and an estranged daughter who loathes me. Well, two out of three ain’t bad (and the 18 year old ain’t one of them). So goes the vagabond life of a radio jock.
Anyway, down the predictability road we go, with cops who can’t help unless either A) 48 hours or B) 72 hour pass, cloaked strangers — in the days of doorbell cams and every other cam imaginable hanging over garage doors and from eve-soffits canvasing a neighborhood — can sneak and lurk undetected, as they — in the case of this shocking potboiler — induce heart attacks in the healthiest of persons. (By oleander. No, not kidding. Flower extract poison.)
Yeah, this is the type of movie, where, after a fight with, and knocking down the killer — and the killer is out cold, or rolled down a hill, etc. — the damsel doesn’t pick up the weapon or kick the s**t out of the person that just tried to kill them: they run, leaving the errant weapon next to the body of their stalker. Well, why not: Nancy, aka the hot, man-hating single aunt, instead of getting her gun from house’s kitchen drawer, follows the stalker’s muddy footprints for that climatic fight scene, you know, where she runs and leaves the weapon next to the killer because, we haven’t quite reached the 80-minute end-mark of the film. Oh, and Nancy? Pay more attention in your law classes, as your “law advice” is as inaccurately-bad as the scripted-advice from this film’s keystone cops.
So, the movie . . . if you made it this far. . . .
Jessica owns a salon.
Tessa’s running wild and in need of a father figure.
Along comes Eric (David Fumero, the only other recognizable face — and shining light, here — as we know him from Power and L.A.’s Finest), the troped “older man” (aka a DILF for the ladies) trolling online for a new, buoyant squeeze. “He’s old enough to be your father,” the story goes, although mom is diggin’ that bad-boy aroma permeating off his GQ suave-body and she’d rather have a hot guy with a tee n’ tats than a hard-working guy with collared shirt and tie.
How hot is Jessica?
Well, Christian, the hot doctor she’s dating, you know, the one that treated Will, the oleander-poisoned-to-death boyfriend, violates all medical ethics to do a medical history search on Eric because, as it turns out: Eric has a psychiatric hospital history. Ugh, Jessica, look in your old college year books! You know your daughter’s boyfriend. He attacked you on campus, way back when. (And I think the irritating and dumb Tessa is Eric’s daughter, was the eventual “plot twist” that I missed because Dating to Kill turned into white noise as I cleaned the cat box and refreshed the water and food bowls.)
Whatever. Welcome to the Lifetime neighborhood, Lady Aberlin.
Now I need to watch a real damsel-in-distress movie for my “Shocktober” October, like Let’s Scare Jessica to Death with a Scream, Pretty Peggy chaser to wash this eye-gunk of a Cannuck wannabe movie from my orbs.
It’s running on Lifetime all this month, but there’s a few uploads on You Tube, if you dare.
* Credit to Melanie Novak (visit her own little slice of movie review heaven) for reminding me about Claire’s work. I had that factoid noted, but I punched this review out — today — so quickly, right before press, I forgot to put it in there. So, if you have some Buffy nostalgia, you just may “dare for Claire” — and dig this flick more than I.