Plot: Mariah (Nicole Hayden) finds herself in an awkward position, as her boss has misunderstood her recent vulnerability for romantic interest, so he pushes her to engage in a physical relationship. She deflects his advances and tries to leave, but when he goes too far and won’t open the gate to allow her leave, she exits her vehicle and tries to find another exit. This leads him giving chase, but as he reaches the gate, the vehicle has rolled down the steep driveway, crushing him and trapping Mariah. She is injured, but her boss is killed in the accident. After she tries to get back to her normal life, the stress of her routine has hindered her healing process, so her doctor recommends a temporary caregiver to assist her. She is hesitant, but finally gives in and hires Tess (Camila Banus), a beautiful and energetic woman who makes life much easier for her, which in turns allows her to heal and decompress. But when strange things begin to happen around the house, Mariah starts to suspect Tess is somehow involved. Is Tess just a helpful young woman who loves her job or is there some of kind of dark motivation behind her presence in Mariah’s life?
Entertainment Value: This is a fun Lifetime thriller, one that balances the over the top melodrama the network is known for, with the more serious, grounded approach that is sometimes taken. In other words, Killer Caregiver is able to walk the line between sincere thriller and wild melodrama, so fans of both Lifetime styles can find a little to appreciate here. I prefer the out of control melodrama, with unhinged villains and outlandish narratives, but I also understand why that approach doesn’t work for all viewers. I can also see the opposite, as some viewers like a more restrained, straight forward style, so a movie like Killer Caregiver tries to keep both camps pleased with this kind of balanced approach. The story is fine and does what you want from a Lifetime movie, as we have an obsessed psycho, a shady husband, family drama, and a victim that never ceases to entertain. I wasn’t dazzled by the finale, but overall the story is solid and as I said, there’s some fun melodrama mixed in. The drama is dialed up in short bursts and never gets too insane, but does ratchet up enough to keep things brisk and fun, so there’s that. Add in a good pace and you have a rock solid Lifetime thriller, one that most fans of the network should appreciate.
This kind of thriller often leans on the villain, given the obsessive elements involved, so we have a fun one here in Camila Banus. She is able to convey the level of creepiness needed to pull off the role, but takes a pretty fresh approach that helps her stalker stand out from the Lifetime crowd. The craziness shines through, but Banus is more of a cold, restrained psycho in Killer Caregiver, rather than the loud, out of control lunatic we often see in these pictures. I think this works rather well, as Tess doesn’t feel like just another Lifetime maniac, which alone is enough to help the movie as a whole feel like a much fresher concept. As I said though, Banus is able to bring the craziness across well and Tess provides a competent threat, so her performance is effective and she makes a terrific Lifetime stalker. Nicole Hayden is also fun as the oblivious, easily tricked good girl in the movie and she makes a great target for Banus’ menace, a dynamic that drives the entire film. The cast here also includes George Stults, Karenssa LeGear, Cameron Kelly, and Andrew Lukich.