Plot: Lily (Megan West) is the vision of a preacher’s daughter, a well behaved and kind young woman who makes her father proud. Her old brother Jason (Matthew James Ballinger) is the polar opposite however, a wild child who defies his father and always seems to be in trouble. His latest transgression involves his new girlfriend Rae (Carly Pope), who his father doesn’t approve of for various reasons, including the news that she has a child. Lily finds herself drawn to Rae however, as she is a fun, upbeat, and charismatic presence, unlike most of the people Lily is around. But when a tragic turn of events unfolds and Jason is killed, Lily goes to a dark place and blames Rae for what happened. The situation only escalates when Rae’s estranged daughter comes back into her life, an arrival that escalates Lily’s obsession to a new level and drives her over the brink.
Entertainment Value: Also known as Do Unto Others, The Preacher’s Daughter was branded as part of the I Killed My BFF lineup, which makes sense, as this was indeed inspired by real life events. The movie has the usual Lifetime movie elements, such as melodrama, obsession, buried past trauma, and fiery females, but it also throws in some dark religious threads. As Lily unravels, she begins to suspect that supernatural forces are at work and that the devil himself is involved, which pushes her well beyond her normal limits. The melodrama runs wild and most characters are unhinged or at least a little unstable to a certain point, while the pace is brisk and the narrative never runs slow whatsoever. In other words, this is a tight, dark thriller with some intense scenes and a nice psychological slant at work. Megan West is immense fun as Lily, giving us a proper Lifetime psycho and her slow burn, gradual breakdown is well handled and a sight to behold. Carly Pope and Joel Gretsch also turn in solid work here, with Pope as the quirky single mother and Gretsch as the hardline father who wants his family in line with the lord’s wishes. So if you’re a fan of Lifetime thrillers, The Preacher’s Daughter is well recommended.
No nakedness. This is a Lifetime movie, but even so there’s minimal romantic or sexual elements here, so the lack of flesh is no surprise. The movie has some blood though, including a blood soaked open that will likely hook most viewers, with a girl running to safety with covered in crimson. The other instances of mild violence produce some blood as well, but as expected, the actual kinetic violence happens off screen. This is a given, since this is a Lifetime movie, but the tense, unsettling atmosphere means even with off screen violence, this one packs a punch. The dialogue is loaded with religious wrath, concerned parent talk, and of course, melodrama with a side order of emotional outbursts, so there’s some fun stuff here. Lily is a more cold, restrained psycho than most Lifetime thrillers offer, but she still has some great lines at times. As for craziness, the religious element makes The Preacher’s Daughter creepier than normal, while the melodrama, emotional instability, and general family drama bump up the score a little as well. Megan West’s terrific turn as Lily also raises the insanity scale, as she is such an effective villain here.
Overall Insanity: 4/10