Plot: Joanna (Carlena Britch) has been in a mental health clinic, as she snapped when her mother’s life was snuffed out. The hospital decided that since she was an alcoholic and abused her liver even while on a donor list, an emergency transplant was out of the question. This led Joanna to take a nurse hostage, hold a knife to her throat, and demand proper care, which then led to the mental health clinic vacation. This was supposed to get her back on track and cleanse her mind, but instead, she has plotted revenge the entire time and already has her plan in motion. The hospital office who denied the transplant is Miriam (Ashley Jones) and of course, she is the main target, but Joanna wants to take out anyone involved in the situation, as well as some people who she feels have wronged her. She has connected with Miriam’s son, who has no idea who she really is, let alone her intentions for his mother. Now that Joanna is free once again, will she forget her vengeance plans and try to move on, or unleash a psychotic frenzy upon those she feels betrayed by?
Entertainment Value: No one knows crazy, obsessed females like Lifetime does and with You Killed My Mother, we have a new, hall of fame tier psycho bitch. Joanna is a smart, calculated stalker who does not mess around, using various gadgets and traps to eliminate her enemies. I also love her total lack of remorse or hesitation, she knows what she wants and she pursues those goals, regardless of the consequences or how twisted her actions become. Carlena Britch has the lead and runs with it, embracing the dark, warped persona of Joanna, earning herself a place in the pantheon of all time great Lifetime villains. Her foil here is Ashley Jones as Miriam, a mostly clueless, but heart in the right place kind of role. She is written as a passive character, so Joanna never gets a proper titan to clash with, but Jones’ performance is solid. The rest of the cast is fine, but this is Britch’s show, no question about it. The story is fine, a little ridiculous at times, but always fun and it sets up what needs to happen, which is Joanna on a wild, psychotic bender. A good amount of melodrama seeps in, which is always fun, but this is where the movie could have used a more prominent protagonist. Joanna is a lot of fun to watch, but without a foil that is on her level, the melodrama and banter is minimal, which is a real shame. But this is still a fun movie that features a dynamic performance from Britch, so Lifetime fans should be more than satisfied.
No nakedness. This is a Lifetime movie after all, right? Joanna seduces Miriam’s son, but no sleaze is featured. Joanna racks up a nice body count, but the violence is mild and never graphic. But she is a sick bitch, using homemade poisons, lethal gas traps, and arson to exact her vengeance. So for a Lifetime movie, she is quite ruthless and her tactics are pretty unique, given that most Lifetime psychos rely on knives or guns alone for their exploits. The dialogue is fun at times, but the movie stays too reined in in this respect, in my opinion. This is Lifetime and you have this epic lunatic, let the melodrama flow like wine, right? Joanna is a source of some fun, overly dramatic moments, but it feels like a missed opportunity to not dial up the drama, given the ideal environment for high melodrama. This restrained approach also dampens the overall craziness, as the filmmakers seem content to let Joanna be the lone wildcard element here. I know that people tend to prefer straight forward narratives, but this is Lifetime, so some sharp turns and ramped up melodrama wouldn’t be out of place. Joanna earns some points and the ridiculous mobster is hilariously terrible, but otherwise, the movie plays it way too safe.
Overall Insanity: 5/10
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Terrible movie. Carlena Britch is not a good actress. This movie is littered with horrible acting aside from Ashley Jones. The commercials were more entertaining.
The movie is an insanely over the top, melodramatic thriller and I think the performances are in line with that. A classical, restrained Daniel Day Lewis type performance isn’t what works in these borderline satire Lifetime thrillers.