Plot: Jess (Mary Grill) is a divorced event planner with a huge opportunity on the horizon, as a former local who became a best selling author is coming back to town to promote his latest book. Nick (Jaime M. Callica) has hired Jess to organize the book signing and as excited as she is to handle a celebrity event, she is even more excited to involve her best friend, Katie (Vanessa Walsh). As Katie runs a small local business, Jess is able to include her friend in the event and both benefit, not to mention they can meet the handsome Nick. After the signing, Nick feels a connection to Jess, but she is hesitant since her last relationship turned abusive. When Nick moves back to work on his new book, he continues to pursue her, but Katie steps in and feels like she needs to protect Jess, as Nick seems good to be true. As some odd events begin to happen around Nick, what is the truth about this mysterious author?

Entertainment Value: Best Friend’s Betrayal is one of Lifetime’s more grounded, wine sipping type thrillers, but it also makes some smart choices that help the movie stand out, especially to Lifetime’s more devoted fans. The story is one Lifetime veterans have seen often, as friends clash over a new romantic interest who seems a little shady, but there are some nice twists here that keep the formula fresh and the writing plays off viewer expectations to great ends. The pace is brisk and the movie layers in the usual thriller tropes in the right places, so there’s little wasted time and the film never feels slow or drawn out. So while it lacks the wild melodrama and manic set pieces of some of Lifetime’s more outlandish thrillers, Best Friend’s Betrayal keeps you reeled in goes about the formulaic elements with skill. Of course, I wouldn’t have minded more of the melodrama and a more epic showdown in the finale, but for this kind of tame, wine sipper, the movie is a fun watch. This is due in part to the cast, which is solid across the board, but mostly the writing, as there’s such a good blend of familiar and fresh, which keeps you invested to see where it goes next. So fans of Lifetime’s more grounded thrillers will love Best Friend’s Betrayal, but even the melodrama addicts should find a lot to like with this one.

The cast is more than capable here, but the performances are on the restrained side and not as much fun as some of the wilder Lifetime affairs. But the change of pace can be a nice one, especially for those who prefer a more traditional, straight forward thriller and that’s what Best Friend’s Betrayal is. Vanessa Walsh and Mary Grill are capable leads and feel natural in the best friends roles, the kind of characters you’d expect to find in this kind of Lifetime movie. Both are up to the task and perform well, but as this is a more reserved approach to the thriller genre, neither is given all that much to do beyond the basics. Even so, Grill is fun as the clueless bestie and Walsh is on point as the overly protective friend, so all the bases are covered here. The strangest choice in the cast has to be Jaime M. Callica, who plays our “is he or isn’t he” new boyfriend threat, but comes off like the least threatening male in Lifetime history. The guys rarely fare well in Lifetime land, but Callica is generic by even the most generous standards and his presence adds some unintentional humor at times. The cast also includes Britt McKillip, Matt Hamilton, and Patrick Rinehart.

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