Plot: As the sense of loss in her home is palpable, Sam (Lindsay Hartley) hopes a fresh presence in the house will boost morale and as part of the foreign exchange process, perhaps be a little more cultured at the same time. Her daughter Blake (Victoria Konefal) is hesitant at first, but once British exchange student Chloe (Valentina Novakovic) arrives and starts to settle in, the two girls become fast friends. Blake’s behavior starts to shift a little as she is influenced by her new friend, but Sam overlooks the signs, as she is pleased to see her happy once again. As the two teens get closer, Chloe plans to push out Blake’s boyfriend and she even shoves him into a pool, creating a lot of tension between the two. When he turns up dead, it is ruled a suicide, though his mother is convinced it was murder and that Chloe was involved. As Chloe continues her calculated actions, what is her dark master plan?
Entertainment Value: In the quest to give us an endless parade of thrillers about obsessed stalkers, Lifetime has delved into all kinds of professions and social circuits to give us fresh antagonists. I mean, we’ve seen psycho doctors, nurses, personal trainers, mothers, neighbors, brides, and now, Lifetime has graced us with a psycho foreign exchange student. The narrative here is one we Lifetime fans have seen time and again, but the story is well told, aside from how much people overlook Chloe’s red flag antics until it is too late. She throws massive shade and makes little attempt to mask her unstable persona, so it kind of makes some of our protagonists seem slow, or at the least very naive. The scene where she borrows the guy’s phone for example, he doesn’t trust her and she behaves in erratic ways, but he lets her wander off with his phone, then never mentions it later to defend himself. But this is melodrama, so you have to expect some inconsistent moments and Valentina Novakovic is such a fun villain, so you likely won’t mind. She dials up the melodrama and shade in a super fun, campy performance, while Lindsay Hartley and Victoria Konefal offer solid efforts as well, though more restrained and dramatic. A good psycho, naive heroines, stupid men, and some fun twists, Deadly Exchange is well recommended for Lifetime fans.
No nakedness. Chloe has no issue using sexual manipulation to further her agenda, but she uses a more cerebral, stealthy approach. Hiding her panties in strategic places and planting seeds of doubts, so she doesn’t need to resort to straightforward seduction to accomplish her goals. No blood. There is some mild violence at times, including a wild open where Chloe brains someone with a meat tenderizer, but no bloodshed and the visible violence is minimal. But this a Lifetime movie, so to expect outrageous violence or graphic carnage is a little unrealistic. The dialogue is passable, with most of the best lines from Chloe as she savages everyone around her, though some fun melodrama also comes from Sam, Blake, and the humorous detective. The others have their moments of drama a little more spread out, but Chloe is a source of consistently fun dialogue and antics, which is always a plus. Chloe is also the main source of general craziness, with her wild and openly hostile tactics quite fun to watch here. There is also some consistent levels of melodrama, but the rest of the cast is a little more reeled in, though some of the twists and turns add some wackiness.
Overall Insanity: 4/10