Plot: After she found popular girl Devon (Chloe Rose) crying at locker, Traci (Erin Sanders) stopped to see what was wrong. But she never expected to hear that beloved chemistry teacher Mr. Adkins (Rob Stewart) had groped Devon’s crotch. Devon claims that no one would believe her, but if Traci agrees to say she was a witness, then people will listen. So Traci lies about seeing the abuse take place and soon, Mr. Adkins is put on administrative leave. He is devastated, as he has devoted his life to being a teacher and is adamant that he is innocent. As teaching is his life, he is crushed and struggles to find a way to move forward, since even if he is cleared, the accusations alone will likely be enough to end his career. When he suddenly takes his own life, his daughter comes to town to figure what happened and soon, she starts to suspect that perhaps not all is as it seems.
Entertainment Value: I suspect this movie was released on home video as Guilty so that it could be rebranded. After all, Guilty at 17 screams Lifetime movie and Guilty is pushed as a thriller, so the title change makes sense. But make no mistake, Guilty at 17 is indeed the kind of melodrama you’d find on Lifetime, so if you’re after a tense thriller, you might be let down here. The narrative is straight forward and predictable, but also brisk and watchable. I loved Traci’s dad, with his extensive plastic surgery and his love of rubbing his chest, to remind us that he has a heart condition. I mean, he really rubs the shit out of his chest, it is ridiculous. The performances are passable, with mean girl Chloe Rose as a standout. But the cast doesn’t embrace the melodrama, so things feel held back and rather mundane in most scenes. Since the movie isn’t effective as a serious drama, I think more camp and melodrama could have worked wonders. In the end, this will appeal to fans of Lifetime movies, but it comes off as overly serious tame, even by those standards.
No nakedness. No blood. A slimy older boyfriend creeps on Devon, but no sleaze is present whatsoever, while violence is limited to a car gently bumping a bicycle. So not much on those fronts to discuss. The dialogue could have been a lot of fun here, but the writers and the cast ignore the obvious melodrama potential. Instead, the movie is content to be a mediocre drama, when it could have embraced the camp and been a wild picture. Chloe Rose is bad enough of an actress to offer some unintentional camp, but I think she could have been an epic bitch if she went for it. Aside from the heart clutching, people play it straight here and that’s a real shame. No real craziness either, which again seems like a huge missed opportunity. But the movie is happy to just plug along and do little to stand out.
Overall Insanity: 0/10