Plot: Lena (Jennifer Taylor) needed to start over in order to leave the loss of her husband behind, so she and her daughter moved to a new town, where she could put down new roots and build a new life. She’s off to a good start, as the locals she meets fall in love with her baking skills and as she has turned those skills into a shop of her own, it is a great sign. Lena is also able to make some fast friends, including local yoga maven Jenny (Jade Harlow) and barista Heather (Rachel Amanda Bryant), who is quite the true crime devotee. Heather’s true crime obsession comes into play when Lena strikes up a quick bond with Michael (Ryan Patrick Shanahan), to the point a potential romance seems inevitable. But Heather knows that Michael has some likely skeletons in his closet, as his wife vanished without a trace and while he was cleared as a suspect, Heather is still not convinced. Of course, Lena dismisses her concerns as paranoia, but when someone else disappears, she begins to wonder…
Entertainment Value: This was a fun one, as In Bed with a Killer follows the Lifetime thriller formula we all know and love, but mixes in some fresh elements, including a thread that weaves in the true crime trend. As always, the movie has that one friend that is convinced the new romance is a psycho, but here she’s a true crime buff and while a simple alternative, it is a fun twist. And given the likely overlap of true crime devotees and Lifetime thriller fans, this was a wise choice and I have to think we will see more of this in future movies. The rest of In Bed with a Killer is what you’d expect from the network’s thrillers, not that is a bad thing, as this one hits all the right twists and turns we look for. The pace is brisk and there’s ample twists and suspense, while there’s a good balance of melodrama and traditional thriller elements. So this is one that walks that balance well, as it is melodramatic enough to be fun and a little over the top at times, but also restrained at times, to appeal to those who prefer a less wild approach. As always, I wouldn’t have minded the melodrama being dialed up, especially in some of the smaller character roles, but this is still a fun watch. I hope the inclusion of a true crime buff will lure in some new viewers for In Bed with a Killer, but I would also recommend it to anyone who appreciates Lifetime’s brand of thrillers.
I appreciated the cast here, as most were able to work within the film’s balance of melodrama and more serious tension, not to mention this was an enthusiastic, colorful band of performers. Jennifer Taylor is a capable lead and while her character doesn’t stand out much from the usual Lifetime central female, she is able to be a little less oblivious than some. This means she still overlooks a lot of course, but Taylor is able to convey that doubt well and doesn’t seem as clueless. This dampens the over the top vibes, but makes Lena a more well rounded character and the movie benefits from Taylor’s solid effort here. Ryan Patrick Shanahan is fine as the “is he a psycho or just misunderstood” type romantic interest, but doesn’t have the manic presence to really drive home the role’s potential. But the standout has to be Rachel Amanda Bryant, who plays the true crime buff barista and brings immense charm, charisma, and presence to the role. She steals most of the scenes she takes part in and is a lot of fun to watch, as she makes the most of the her on screen moments. The cast also includes Laurie Fortier, Jade Harlow, Rachel Rosenstein, and Al Sapienza.
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