Plot: Harper (Lizze Broadway) has a passion for fashion design, a passion she hopes to one day turn into a career. Her creations are impressive and her designs have helped her gain a solid social media following, but when she is added to a hot list feature, her profile skyrockets and her follows go through the roof. Now she plans to her use her viral rise to draw attention to her work and hopefully get the attention of the fashion industry, at least until her mother explores her account. Her mom Layla (Kelly Sullivan) was already in protective mode after a tragic turn events led to Harper being a heart transplant recipient, but when she sees how much attention and personal information Harper’s account has, she shuts it all down. When one of Harper’s fans doesn’t take well to her absence, it becomes clear that while the account is suspended, that doesn’t mean the attention will end…
Entertainment Value: Lifetime has a few formulas for their thrillers and one of them is parental panic, where a movie is crafted out of some “torn from the headlines” social trend. In this case, Instakiller focuses on the dangers of social media and while it does make some huge leaps in logic, the core premise is a relevant one, as care does need to be taken in the online world. So the narrative here does make sense, but of course, Lifetime dials up the melodrama, takes it over the top, then throws in some wild twists to bury that relevant social message. To me, this is fantastic news, as I love the crazier of Lifetime, but I suppose if these thrillers are your main source for how to arm yourself against the world’s dangers, you might not appreciate that. But this also isn’t one of the five alarm melodrama meltdowns Lifetime is capable of, so it is a balance between sincere drama and overblown drama. A little of each column works out well, though of course, I lean toward the emotional outbursts and manic behaviors, which aren’t the focus of Instakiller. The only downside here is that the mystery element is pretty obvious right from the start, but otherwise anyone who enjoys Lifetime style thrillers should get some solid entertainment.
The cast here is fine, though no one really goes bananas since the material isn’t that off that deep end. But I think the performances are solid and the drama creeps up when it needs to, so Lifetime fans should be pleased in this area. I do love the overprotective mothers in these movies and Kelly Sullivan handles that role well, with all the knee jerk reactions and overblown drama you’d expect. She doesn’t spiral into full breakdowns or crank the melodrama into the stratosphere, but she gets that after school special mom vibe down pretty well here. I think Lifetime devotees will have a lot of fun watching Sullivan here, she hits the balance close to the mark and brings out the inner lioness quite well at times. Lizze Broadway is also fun as the clueless daughter, who just wants to be famous and if that means getting stalked, well, so be it. The scenes between mother and daughter are some of the most entertaining ones, so these two certainly steal the show. The cast also includes Jared Scott, Shawn Christian, Tunisha Hubbard, and Darren Barnet.
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